One thing I learnt while reading up on this album is that there is a heavy metal store called Crypt of the Wizard in East London. Having spent hours and hours in record shops in my life, and picking up many gems of pleasure from them, I wish them well. What I didn’t learn so much about was this album. In amongst all the nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs, I did pick up that “Stoic” is a “sensatory elegy”. Further research confirmed Ghold’s broad status as an established progressive noise rock outfit, and current live support for Godflesh.
As I listened to “Nothing Dreamt”, I began to understand the following description of what to expect: “The drunken babble of the idiot savant humorously stumbling through his sudoric litany and exploring his foolish vision”. Well, apart from the word sudoric, which I had to look up in the dictionary and I’m still not sure what it means in this context. Pretentious? Yes. Basically this is a very dark sludgy piece with a madman uttering semi or maybe fully conscious repetitious words and phrases like berate us – unfettered – flattery – I hate us. The track develops a further level of sinister darkness but this wasn’t grabbing my attention and I looked for something more tangibly interesting. A dark, swirling, cosmically ambient piece followed, finally exploding into the noise-laden “Ruptured Earth (Head in Sand)”. As the title suggests, it’s a fractured affair. Wild and scrunchy guitars, deep bass and those manic vocals are held together by insistent drum work. As it all develops into a kind of psychedelic sludge, the incoherent chant that goes with it is suitably nihilistic. Industrial noises accompany a deep drone. The crashing picks up, as do the horrific screams in the background. This is the blacker than black “Faeder Ure”. I can only describe it as a tribal experimental black industrial piece. It doesn’t seem to have an end in itself. More industrial waves then imprint themselves in our head. “Skhul V” slowly grinds us down. This is another track with a series of post it phrases and no coherence other than the fact that they’re all very dark. The dreamy heavy sludge has that psychedelic air again. It’s painful in every sense. The result is “Skhul VI”, twelve minutes of heavy chaotic noise. With the crap cut out, and Ghold just going for it, this was much better. “Skhul VI” had a previously unheard freedom of expression.
My thoughts on this album are mixed. I appreciated its adventure and experimentation, but found that with the exception of the last track “Stoic” was too arty in spite of being heavy, sludgy and industrial in its nature. If it were to be a “sensatory elegy”, I would expect to feel something. Anything I did feel would have been from the pit of my stomach, because after all it’s deep, dark and psychologically deranged stuff, but for much of it I just found it unpleasant and felt no sensation at all. It was only when I heard the final track that I really appreciated Ghold’s natural creativity.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)