Friday 23 January 2015

Ghoulgotha - The Deathmass Cloak (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 13/1/2015
Label: Dark Descent Records

‘The Deathmass Cloak’ CD//DD track listing:

1). Solar Awakening (Intro)
2). Gazing Into Melted Night
3). A Neck For The Nameless Noose
4). Austere Urns
5). Saturnal Rites
6). Prophetic Oration Of Self
7). Arteries Unblest
8). Citadel Of Heathen Flesh
9). Cartilage Imperfection
10). Levitate Within The Curse

Ghoulgotha is:

C. Koryn | Drums
I. Mann | Guitars, Bass
W. Sarantopoulos | Vocals, guitars, keyboards


Ghoulgotha are a doom/death outfit from the US. From the creepy intro of ‘Solar Awakening’ the record going straight into ‘Gazing into Melted’ Night you know what you are getting. The sound is resolutely old school, heavy reverb on the drums, low vocals and even lower guitar tones. This is undoubtedly for all fans of Hooded Menace and even early Paradise Lost.A Neck for the Nameless Noose’ picks up the pace and aggression with an organic sound. No pro-tools here. This is raw and loose, as death/doom should be. The guitars work nicely with melody lines amongst the dense riffs. There is even a blasting section here and some out and out thrashing.

‘Austere Urns’ is slower and more morbid in its approach. The guitars are atonal and sludge filled.  Saturnal Rites’offers up atmosphere aplenty with a very downcast air to the riffs and the track lumbers into form before bass drums pummel you for the verse. Cool lead work cuts in here and there.

‘Prophetic Oration of Self’ reminded me of the 90's so much it hurt- the record has that vibe of when metal was a smaller ballpark and these sounds were almost unthinkably extreme. Of course, things have moved on- what with brutal/tech death and drone doom and what have you, but there is huge value in bands harking back and delivering things in their purest form. ‘Arteries Unblest’ is relentlessly doom filled (as you might expect) with an excellent acoustic overdub really adding to the track as a whole. Things pick up to Bolt Thrower pace for the latter stages before coming down again. The excellently titles ‘Citadel of Heathen’ Flesh offers more echoey claustrophobia, with good riffs and a punishing verse section. ‘Cartilage Imperfect’ is cut from similar cloth to its predecessor complete with stop start riffing and some bursts of speed.

Closer ‘Levitate within the Curse’ is a lengthy excursion if you only look at the playing time, but actually it appears to be a song, an outro and a bonus (possibly demo?). Either way, the final few minutes has an abysmal drum sound (which the rest of the album does not share) so I am assuming extra value for the purchaser rather than lack of recording budget! It is heavy stuff for sure, low and slow in the main with grit and rawness in place of shiny production and clean sounds. If you like any of the bands mentioned in this review, give this a try- it's an interesting throwback album with spite in spades.

Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a CD/LP copy here.

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