Monday, 13 February 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Gateway - “Scriptures of Grief”

By: Grim Trashcan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/02/2017
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories

I hate to sound melodramatic or overstated but this was a completely other-worldly experience  ... the likes of which I'm still recovering from.

“Scriptures of Grief” CS//DD track listing:

1). I
2). II
3). III

The Review:

It can be said that in this modern age we all have a sense of universal gateways. Instant paths to information, shared experience and ideologies - for better or worse. The beckoning, albeit distracting handheld glow of our portable gateway devices. The altar of research and interaction that takes form as a desktop battle station or a convenient laptop. Your path to these gateways is not beset on all sides with a burden of gnosis, or a life resolute on mastering the arcane mysteries of the universe. The gateway is the path, and the path is the gateway. Sorry, I just got done listening to "Scriptures of Grief" by Gateway

Having emerged from the alternate plane that this Gateway release puts you - it's sort of difficult not to look at things a bit differently. Sure, blackened death doom is a thing and those words in conjunction sort of let you know what you're in for when you hear them - but this is something else. I hate to sound melodramatic or overstated but this was a completely other-worldly experience  ... the likes of which I'm still recovering from. 

Three tracks, titled as simple numerals - "I-II-III" comprise this album as ways to delineate three concise movements or phases. So for the sake of coherency I'll just refer to them as "parts". Part one is a telling display of this one man's death doom dealing abilities overall. The knack for creating atmosphere and laying a formidable track for you to attach yourself to. Clocking in at almost twelve and half minutes long it takes you through gravity questioning swirls and sweeps of low-end frequency annihilation and eerie distant digital percussion. A rare instance where mechanical drums actually fit to serve the experience. The guitar tone is for me, more reminiscent of early 90's drone distortion - a la early Earth with sort of a destructive industrial warmth but sterility that beckons you near whilst burning and semi-sizzling your ear drums. In terms of vocal performance, it's more of a production than an outright telling. Deep, guttural bellows soaked in reverb so wet it glistens and drips. I'm reminded of bio-mechanic landscapes in the latest Doom video game and the sounds they would make when no one was fighting on them. 

Part two further delves into a more scientific and somewhat industrial conjuring of textures with the seamless transition from the first part. Marked by an increase in mechanical drum excellence, this part of the album wants to take you for a ride. Big breaks, followed by cliff-drops and more trudging with hypnotic guitar work and those calculated machinations that are the drums culminate to make this 8 and a half minute affair stand out resolute as a different phase of the album. Probably a deliberate notion to give the entire journey its height in intensity and callousness. Not a guitar solo in sight here - nor anywhere on this entire landscape. The guitar serves as solid slabs of gristle and glacial meat for the rest of the aural participants to feed from. 

Part three folds in organically at the brief respite that marks the transition. From there it’s an inevitable downhill affair with a final surge of tempo and intensity which disassembles and deconstructs to sub-sonic ruminations and rumblings encapsulated in yet another 8 and half minute dirge. Kind of like the slow motion death rattles of a wounded elder god - the dying breaths of a world destroyer. At somewhere around the 6 minute mark the song releases its final frustration in tempo and intensity to fall to the ground, awash in a fuzz tide and crispy wizard whispers. The gateway has closed and the scriptures have been read aloud. Time for you to return to the plane of the mundane mortal.

“Scriptures of Grief” is available Europe here and USA/ROTW here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook