Gnosis
The Third Eye Gate

Let’s face facts, chances are if you’re a death metal nut at least one major band that dragged you kicking and screaming into the style’s dungeon of torture is from Florida.  I know this site is full of haunted souls with more knowledge than myself, so I’m going to spare you the history lesson.  The Third Eye Gate is the debut from the 4-piece, Floridian muck dwellers Gnosis.  Despite touches of Norwegian blackness this is pretty old school sounding shit with many nods to the classics.  There’s no overproduction hanging on the meathook in Gnosis’ butcher shack.

You get a bit of Obituary and Morbid Angel’s rampant brutality burl, the thick and mid-paced doom undertones of Incantation and Vore with a little sprinkling of Slayer.  Despite blasts, double-bass and a pretty retching vocalist these guys are hardly the fastest and most technical lot to throw down.  Don’t get me wrong, they can certainly play, but a quaking, rumbling feel replaces the need for machine-gun fast, trigger happy speed Armageddon.  Weight and feeling seems to be a focus, which I believe is important in the crowded DM pack of the right now.

“Intro” is just that, an intro with a low-droning synth and the dripping of water in some begotten castle’s flooded basement.  Of course you know there’s a beast down there, and it breaks its chains on the fetid, memorably riffed, “Primaeval Light.”  The guitar work is dirty and dingy, but clear with plenty of tone and movement across styles.  There are multiple drops into slower, sludge abandon with smart usage of minimal chords.  Rhythmically, the percussion stays busy riding the changes while the bass cuts through the mix enough to be heard.  Blasts are used sparingly but effectively, they too trudging in a mud-caked set of boots whenever blackened tremolo runs send the music down a decidedly deeper, darker abyss.  Even when Gnosis seems like they’re about to up the amphetamine quotient and go into a toothless speed freak abandon, they always come off as anchored down and weighted.  The vocals are rasped, and bellowed in a decipherable dialect that’s not nearly as over the top as say Deicide’s Glen Benton or other growlers that come straight outta sewer city.

Beginning with vintage thrash riffs and attitude welded to controlled blasts, “The Plague of Azotus” is immediately speedier though still sludgy and dirtier thanks to a bottom heavy guitar sound.  The climbing groove at the minute milestone is less strictly adherent to death metal doctrine, and more in-line with a good 80s thrash hook or perhaps some of Back from the Dead’s catchiest cannon fodder.  “Temple of the Sea” is even faster still, straight forward death metal from the grave with a jagged, thrash-y guitar edge dipping into doom-ier groove segments, and an absolutely stuttering mid-tempo riff (check that shit out at 51 seconds) that chugs, churns and revels in a tarpit of staccato murk.  The way the guitar dissects open a few thicker, bleaker semi-breakneck bursts is again a nod to the frost-burnt black metal heavies.  A very similar formula is concocted from virtually the same alchemical components on “Chariot of the Sun-Moon.”  An almost identical staccato lurch comes into play with the pacing very similar to the preceding track.  It’s not that it isn’t good, but the transitions and riff construction is so similar it blurs together, plus “Temple of the Sea’s” mid-tempo, bang your head off groove just can’t be matched.  A solid tune that’s appeal is only dulled by familiarity.

Graciously, “Cult of the Great Serpent” melts down the speed into a primal, corrosive crawl befitting of Incantation.  The riffs are varied, laying out a spread of detuned, piercing blackness with doom detonations and throne toppling death/thrash madness giving way to instantly memorable chord patterns, and a horde of shambling grooves.  C.V’s drumming is a particular show-stealer; his agile rolls and fill fluxes really add fire that give a warm thaw to the drearier sections, and even bassist C.R.C.’s forlorn synth textures do little to take away from the hateful atmosphere.  Rounding out the album, “Lotan’s Dwelling” continues down a blackened, blasting path with numerous Earthen shifts reminiscent of John McEntee’s hope killing abominations, “Apzu Tiamatu” continues the skillful management of groovy brain and punishing brawn while “Gnosis” trips out on ambient, melody-intensive guitar lines during its calmer moments.  The title track draws the curtain, and drops the blade on a gothic synthesizer drone that would make for a fine soundtrack to a slasher flick.

This is a rock solid first entry into the arena.  It’s not perfect, and Gnosis has plenty of room to grow, but they’ve got a fortified position to work with.  Their tones are ratty and rugged for a really no nonsense feel.  There might be space for just a little more beef on the guitars and the bass in the future, though I don’t see anything as a nagging problem.  The songwriting is varied enough to keep you in the maelstrom with only a few parts suffering from sameness.  Damn good stuff, I’ll be ready and waiting for more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
January 13th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    It´s nice to see some love for Vore! They are a top notch Death Metal of the groovy ‘n’ doomy variety. They have consistently put out great albums yet don´t seem to be very popular.


  2. Commented by: Jason

    Vore is criminally underrated. I got into Maleficus first and it blew me away. Just the kind of death metal I was hoping someone out there was making at the time.


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