The good run by Great Dane Records continues, with this cheeky little release coming late in the year. I’d not heard anything of Gohrgone before, but a little snurgling around the internet told me a couple of factoids: they’re from Paris, France; secondly, they compose songs about mythological content; and thirdly, they apparently used to be a deathcore band.
Well, two out of three ain’t bad. In fact, Gohrgone these days seem to be an almost straight ahead death metal band, though there are some stylistic hints back to their old sound, it would seem, particularly in the choppy riffing which is evident at some points, such as the beginning of “Cursed Wind”, though for the most part, this is pretty gnarled and blacked death metal, with an ear for groove and mid-tempo sensibilities. Now, I have a particular fondness for mid-tempo death metal, and I must confess that I think Gohrgone were a pretty interesting advocate for this style of extremity. There’s enough individuality here for them to be able to lift themselves over the hordes of meat-and-potatoes death metal bands out there. Whether that is through the excellent death metal vocals, which (and this might be a nice reference) sound to these ears very much like Michael Poulson from his “Dominus” days.
In other tracks, such as the title number, there’s a real sense of dynamism, and even some black metal influences to be found, with the brittle, frozen guitar tone of the intro being colder than the conversation between Iain Duncan Smith and a benefits claimant. Sadly, some of the former Deathcore days do come through a little more often than is strictly necessary – just how many guitar WIIIIIOOOOOOOPS sounds does one album need? That being said, the song writing is as chunky as a family sized Marathon bar, and enjoyable fare at that. In terms of the musicianship, there’s not much here for the ultra-technical crowd to get themselves all excited about, though the pseudo-Egyptian tones of “Tartarus’ Punishment” might get some of the Nile fans out there in a state of semi-excitement. The production is pretty full fat too, with the heft and churn of the rhythm section coming across well, particularly during the heads-down mid-tempo chug.
It’s another solid effort from Great Dane records, and a symbol that perhaps the French side of extreme music hides under the radar from time to time, and may be worthy of more exploration. It’s certainly one to listen out for, and my guess is that some of these tunes will sound immense in the live setting.
(7/10 Chris Davison)