Monday, December 15, 2014
Ghoulgotha "The Deathmass Cloak"
Slow crushing riffs that echo through mountains of distortion is one way to describe San Diego’s Ghoulgotha. This death doom trio constructs some loud ominous sounding musical compositions for their debut full-length album, “The Deathmass Cloak.”
Set for release on January 13, 2015 through Dark Descent Records, the album will offer fans of slower extreme music ten tracks of original death doom music. The band’s sound is very unique, and blends death metal style riffs and vocals with more doom metal like compositions. Some of the bands that Ghoulgotha reminds me of are Dismember, Amorphis, Paradise Lost and a bit of Obituary. All ten songs on this album are consistent and maintain a heavy edge. However, I must admit that the death doom formula becomes tiring towards the end. Riffs begin to drag on and the drums seem lost in the endless void of growls and distortion.
Still, one cannot complain too much as the overall sound is brutal and there are some songs on this album that display creative death doom dynamics. After the intro track, “Solar Awakening,” the band cranks up the volume and unleashes a heavy slab of chord crushing riffs. The band’s drummer pounds away at his kit and provides a strong backbone. “Gazing into the Melted Night” and “A Neck for the Nameless Noose,” are unapologetic thunderous sounding pieces of music. The vocals narrate by growling along to the riffs and compliment the heavy musical atmosphere. Ghoulgotha also messes around with some unique guitar effects to create haunting intros like the one heard on, “Saturnal Rites.” Another interesting example of musical experimentation that I found when listening to this album was the quick switches between slow death doom and fast paced old school death metal. The band can be hammering out a slow jam, and without warning, turn up the intensity meter by throwing in some wicked sounding blast beats.
Songs like, "Arteries Unblest" and “Citadels of Heathen Flesh,” are brutal both lyrically and musical, so you get the best of both worlds. The band delivers a massive devastating sound that leaves no one safe in its path of destruction. As the drums pound along to the rhythm, the guitar screams out in agony over the noisy chaos. The longest song on the album, “Levitate Within the Curse,” is Ghoulgotha’s most creative track. There are a variety of different compositions and timings to keep a listener’s attention hooked the whole way through. Long songs can be scary to some metal fans, especially crust punk/grindcore fans, but this song is not too repetitious and attention challenging. There is this one part that sounds like something out of the X-Files, which was interesting and added a slight science fiction theme to the track.
Although this genre of music is not my absolute favorite, Ghoulgotha’s, “The Deathmass Cloak,” is what I would consider solid death doom music. Personally I usually just prefer death metal or doom metal, but blending the two sub-genres in an interesting and not completely repetitive way can also work for me. I think a majority of your die hard death doom fans will find this album to their liking. However, crust punk/grindcore fans might need Ritalin if they listen to this album...