Beyond Darkness

Göden is the spiritual successor to Long Island NY’s death/doom band Winter.  Never did I envision this possible and Winter’s 1990 debut and only album Into Darkness is my favorite death/doom album of all time.  I have seen them live prior to their debut and after their debut was released in NY.  So damn heavy and I am very happy over the years to have seen their influence on this particular metal genre.  The Göden, Beyond Darkness debut, is somewhat different than the Winter album, however, in many ways, it really does sound like a second Winter album and is also a bit of a mixed bag – which I will get to.

Longtime Winter guitarist Stephen Flam has brought forth a beast of an album and accompanying him in this quest is: Tony Pinnisi on keyboards, who acted as a session keyboardist years ago with Winter, Vas Kallas on vocals, and a variety of session players contributing drum tracks, violins and added guitar work.  We even get Joe, from Maelstrom, to lay down some guitar tracks – awesome.  When approaching this album I had some trepidation – 19 total tracks at close to 80 minutes – sweet baby jesus, that is an astronomical feat to ask the listener to get through, but somehow, it comes together sounding cohesive.

First thing to strike fear into you, in case the album-length did not, is the cover.  Goddamn it’s creepy and in keeping to the black n white tone sheds some dark light as to what this album is going to sound like.  “Glowing Red Sun” begins the album as a 9 minute opening instrumental.  Ohhhh Boy!  But if you have listened to Winter’s debut or seen them live, you know long plodding instrumentals are nothing new – however, this is super long, but very heavy.  Then the spoken word moments.  These are referred to various iterations under the name “Manifestation”.  These act as an intro to the real songs, if you will.  They are somewhat creepy and are pretty short, about a minute each.  So the real song starts on the third song – “Twilight”, at over 6 minutes is amazing.  Ms. Kallas has quite an awesome raspy range and her vocals fit perfectly as the Winter-like plodding heaviness is on full display as well as some eerie keyboards throughout the song.  The track is moody, heavy and even has a little avant-garde Celtic Frost Monotheist heavy doomy depressive moments going on.  I feel hopeless when listening to the song because it’s dark, heavy and depressing.  I love every minute of it, because this sounds like Winter, and it’s incredible.  Another spoken word intro and then “Cosmic Blood” comes in with more plodding heaviness.  The 2 minute part with the grinding rhythm section is not only beyond heavy, but just punishingly evil.

“Dark Nebula” is over 7 minutes and more plodding Winter dirge/doom/death filthy and ugly heaviness.  There’s some nice atmospherics going on with isolated drums and vocals.  This goes on for a bit and then the guitars come in and it’s a real epic heaviness and again, perfect and evil vocals to coincide with the music.

Beyond Darkness has plenty going for it – if you can get past the extreme album length you will see how this is a fitting follow-up, to Winter’s Into Darkness.  The spoken word moments are never cheesy and really add to the ambient flair.  Honestly, I would not have minded maybe like 5 of them cut out in total for the album flow to remain uninterrupted, because at times, they do that.  The songs themselves are filled to the brim of the mighty Winter.  Dark, depressive and monolithic plodding heaviness.  The eerie sounds and keyboards that were used to great, but limited effect in Winter’s past effort return and add that extra layer of depth which in turn create a truly, at times, scary listening experience.  When listening on earphones, listen with the lights off.  I did and I thought I saw that 3 headed demonic apparition, adorning the album cover, pop out of the corners of my basement – I crapped my pants several times.

Beyond Darkness has an excellent production, reminiscent of 90’s musical output productions, just louder/punchier and at the same time remaining organic.  Göden have released an extremely heavy debut album that really pushes the Winter sound to the front, while also retaining it’s own originality.  Get this now!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 27th, 2020


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