Do you ever have those moments where you need to listen to something aggressive and angry? I do. Probably more than I should. I always gravitate to death metal. There's something therapeutic that happens when you can crank the volume and rage in your head as opposed to on somebody or something. Thus begins this week's wild world of weird (and decidedly late) review journey.
There are jewels a-plenty hiding on Bandcamp. This is one of them. Meet Gorephilia. Finland's most "in your face" death metal band. Per the bandcamp page for "Severed Monolith" released on March 3 of this year.....
“This was meant at first to be an EP” reveals their original guitarist Jukka Aho “but it slowly grew into a full-length. Some of the songs date all the way back to 2012 and the material has had much time to ferment resulting in GOREPHILIA’s most refined compositions yet. The lyrics explore the inner conflict and self-destructive nature of man - parting from his will, values and life. The album was recorded with Tommi Otsavaara, mostly live in studio with the exception of vocals and guitar solos, just like for our debut."
"If lately many of their contemporaries, including famed label mates KRYPTS whom Jukka is incidentally also part of, have decided to reconnect themselves with the ‘classic Finnish sound’ of the early 90’s, GOREPHILIA have on the other hand decided to go against the tide and turn their gaze towards the US for inspiration. Their goal is pretty simple: making sure their take on the genre has the kind of sudden impact few will recover from. Whereas others tend to wave around their prey, they’re in for the kill and after ‘Embodiment of Death’ back in 2012, their second full-length ‘Severed Monolith’ is deemed to twist the knife in the wound even deeper."
Oh boy does it. Music to knock you on your ass. The icing on the cake is groovy riff placement. The thing I like about death metal most is the phrenetic pace makes the sensory aspect of it sort of go all over the place.
Track 1) Interplanar....This one rains down on you from above like a storm of artillery shells. (or oddly placed pale turquoise beams that streak across my field of view like meteors). It's an aural onslaught of brutal riffs and blast beats constructed to kick you in the teeth, yet despite its aggression, it's composed in a way that won't lose death metal virgin ears on the first track.
Track 2) Hellfire....Here lies proof that groovy riffs and death metal can be roomies. Here also lies more color streaking across my visual field. It think we have a trigger pattern, kids. The only difference was this one had turquoise and pale orange, not a bad color combo if you're talking Easter eggs, but then death metal wasn't meant to be comfortable. That is why I love it.
Track3) Harmageddon of Souls....Why do I love that title so much? It could be a band name as well as a song title. This one is how death metal should sound. Spot on in form and function. I especially like the bass in this one. It balances out the other instruments as it should, but at all the right times, it jumps out from it's hiding place down the darkened hallway. It's as if you can hear it stomping in the distance, ominous and ever present, but can't see where it's coming from. The pale orange morphed into a deep fiery orange. The pattern seems to want to stay. The funny part? Now I know what a windshield in a blowing rainstorm feels like, without getting soaked, for that, kids, is how the colors look to me.
Have I mentioned that this album would make the perfect horror movie soundtrack? Seriously....the over all sound is perfect. Plus what better subject matter to incorporate into a terrifying scenario than the self destructive nature of man?
Track 4) Words that Solve Problems....This is one of two breaks you get from the aural assault. That being said, Kauko Kuusisalo is still beating the ever loving hell outta the drums. Now why it made me see lavender I cannot explain. Maybe the death metal gods are telling me I need to relax in a lavender field? Hell I don't know......
Track 5) Black Horns....It's riffy. It's brutal. There's a banshee scream near the beginning, then the gutteral-creeps-up-your-spine vocals kick in. Also, guitar solos. They kick ass.
Oh yes. Back to fiery orange. There's irony in the fact that a color that could represent hell fire shows up alot for this round.
Track 6) The Ravenous Storm....Come here to get your ass kicked by guitar solos again. I'm content being a glutton for punishment if said punishment comes in the form of a guitar solo. This is definately a head banger friendly track. Listen to it. You'll see what I mean. Sometimes it's all in the tempo of a song.
Track 7) Return to Dark Space....Kauko Kuusisalo, what drum heads do you use? You beat the living hell out of your snare in this track, and it's got me wondering how many drum heads you went through in the recording of this album. I am in awe of your drummer awesomeness. I have a great appreciation for this track because if there were ever a "how to play death metal" tutorial out there, this song should be the working example. It's heavy, brutal, and technically sound. This is the sound in my head when someone asks me "what is death metal?" This song makes me see red, but in the good way.
Track 8) Eternity....another break of sorts from the aural onslaught, albeit a slightly creepier one, at least for me. You see, a song need not always be down tuned, aggressive, or distortion heavy to leave that holy-shit-what-did-I-just-hear impression. Sometimes all you need is the right notes, the right instrument, and chill tempo.
Track 9) Crushed Under the Weight of God....9 minutes and 44 seconds of groovy as fuck riffs with a death metal cherry on top. It's my favorite track on the album.
Track 10) Untitled....I totally did not expect this song. I suspect you won't either. This one brings the experience full circle. Even if it wasn't the final track on the album, there still exists a sense of finality.....of decisions made, destruction wrought, chaos come and gone.
The duration of the album from track eight onward all presented with that same fiery orange and turquoise, just in different amounts based on which song and where in that particular song I was.
The newest entry on my bucket list is to see "Crushed Under the Weight of God" played live. That would be bad ass. Now to make it happen......
Coming soon, less delays in reviewing, more death metal, a Mastodon album, and more of me being my awesome weird self.
Gorephilia. "Severed Monolith" See link above, please.