Wednesday 19 November 2014

Golden Gorilla/Ghost Of Wem - Cruel Surprises Split LP (Album Review)

Ghost of Wem / Golden Gorilla - split - LP (Preview) cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 19th December 2014
Label: Per Koro Records and Meta Matter Records

Cruel Surprises (Split LP) – Track Listing

01 - Golden Gorilla - No Sleep
02 - Golden Gorilla - Paranoia Run
03 - Golden Gorilla - Teeth In The Pocket
04 - Golden Gorilla - Endlosrille
05 - Ghost Of Wem - (Cut The Head Off) Leave Th...
06 - Ghost Of Wem - Control Entity

Golden Gorilla Members

Tomasz Stompor - screams
Steffen Hinkel - guitar
Lars Ortlepp - guitar, backing growls
Thorsten Schüler - drums
Jürgen Schüler – bass

Ghost Of Wem Members

S. Guitar
D. Vocals
J. Guitar
J. Drums
S. Bass


So what do we have here? A heavy and brutal split record from two fine bands from Germany. In one corner we have - Golden Gorilla, and the next, we have Ghost Of Wem. Both bands offering heavy slabs of Sludge Metal to awaken your senses to. From what I can recall, Golden Gorilla split back in 2010 but reformed recently. Ghost Of Wem has been on this blog before with their intense onslaught of Blackened Sludge Metal. When my good friend Timon (from Sludge Worm Magazine) asked me - Did I want to review the new split record between these two awesome bands?

Of course, I jumped at the chance to review it. A few days later, a copy of their latest split release - Cruel Surprises - was handed to me. So let us get started. Golden Gorilla offer 4 tracks while Ghost Of Wem offers 2 tracks. 36 minutes of heavy bombastic Sludge/Blackened Sludge/Hardcore fury to rattle your bones to. Up first is Golden Gorilla with their heavy style of Sludge, Doom and Hardcore. Influenced by EyeHateGod and Iron Monkey amongst others, it does not take long for Golden Gorilla with their first offering - No Sleep. A punishing and bruising encounter with the music is low, mean and heavy with bleak vocals to match. It is a disturbing song with spikes of killer sludge riffs, which packs quite a punch. Though it may take a few listens to understand what the vocals are actually singing about, as they are more of the death-based growl variety. Still a ton of great riffs for you to check out with Golden Gorilla providing a spectacle of loud noise through out their side of the split release.

Golden Gorilla's contribution may only last 17 minutes or so but it is a thrilling encounter, which will leave you shaken to the core. The other two tracks - Paranoia Run and Teeth In The Pocket - carries on the volatile atmosphere with hints of NOLA style riffage being added to give this Split Release an even hard-rocking vibe. Golden Gorilla don't hold back in letting you know how angry they are with the world. For the short time that they are here, they don't waste a single second. Though the last track - Endlosrille - is a more playful and humorous song that only lasts 1:41 mins. To be fair the band could have left this track out, as it doesn't quite match the excellent 3 tracks they have provided here. Other than that, Golden Gorilla should be applauded for unleashing an action-packed and disturbing encounter of intense riffs.

So time for Round 2 and Ghost Of Wem to show the world what they can do. Ghost Of Wem offer two tracks both running for around 10 minutes each. So if you're a fan of slow-paced down-tempo blackened sludge metal then you will be in your element here. Ghost of Wem's first song - (Cut The Head Off) Leave  - is a slow-paced affair with menacing disturbing blackened sludge riffs portraying a nightmarish world with brutal vocals to match. It's a very hard sound to like as Ghost of Wem take no prisoners. This is uncompromising as it gets, where noises are added to provide a more creepy effect. When the band start playing long drawn out riffs with guitar feedback lurking in the background, this turns into a full on exercise of misery where there is no escape from. I should point out that Ghost Of Wem features members from Black Shape Of Nexus so that should tell you about the quality of this band and how bleak the mood will actually become. Though the later stages of the song features highly impressive fast paced riffs that wouldn't go a miss from a post-black metal band.

Ghost Of Wem's 2nd and final track is Control Entity. A 10:40 minute opus that blends Drone, Doom, Sludge and Black Metal for a more experimental feel compared to the previous track. It starts rather slowly before the band add harsh vocals and faster paced riffs for an unsettling and loud experience. The drumming is fantastic as you can feel the drums being put through their paces. The vocals are more of the death/grind variety, which once again may take multiple listens to fully understand the lyrical content. Don't let that put you off as Ghost Of Wem keep you entertained through out especially if you're a fan of bleak and desolate sludge/black metal. It's probably the heaviest and loudest track on the split release and it ends the record on a bleak depressing note. Overall, this is an excellent split-record from two great bands. It may not offer anything groundbreaking but it's a great record to use to discover two excellent bands.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Timon from Mountain Range PR for the promo. Cruel Surprises will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from Per Koro Records and Meta Matter Records from December 19th 2014

For More Information

Golden Gorilla

Ghost Of Wem