Gomorrah
Gomorrah

Canada’s Gomorrah impressed greatly with their industrial-tinged death metal debut, 2016’s The Haruspex. The album packed Anaal Nathrakh-styled intensity with killer grooves and dynamic song-writing. Three years later the duo returns with a self-titled platter that looks set to raise the stakes for top notch death metal in 2019. Gomorrah expands and improves on nearly every aspect of an already accomplished debut, pushing themselves to the limit on a technical level, while deftly whipping dissonance, technicality, brutality and groove into a tight collection of dynamic, contorting and downright catchy songs. In short, the duo has honed and chiselled their sound to a fine point, crafting the ideal follow-up on the back of a promising debut and lifting their game to comfortably navigate the pitfalls of a sophomore slump.

While the tech death label has been thrown around, the term is alternately a fitting and loose fit. Yes, there’s a lot of technicality and complexity embedded into the Gomorrah sound, while guitarist Bowen Matheson mixes up tight, bludgeoning riffs with all sorts of flashy but not overdone embellishments, creating bending, atmospheric mutations and off-kilter chugs into a deadly repertoire. But overall Gomorrah feels and sounds less choppy, clean and indulgent when stacked up against the basic template for modern tech death, with the tools to appeal to listeners that don’t generally get down with tech. “Frailty” pummels, jabs and grooves with a tasty mix of full throttle aggression and thumping mid-paced restraint. The album’s concise duration leaves no room for filler and every cut is meticulously crafted, compelling and memorable. “For Those of Eld” features an engrossing display of Gomorrah’s numerous strengths, from vicious blasting, to ominous atmospheric melodies, complex musicianship and chunkified grooves. An almost blackened vibe and visceral intensity permeates the brooding and spacious melodic backbone of “The Carnal Wrought.” Gomorrah concludes in pleasingly climactic circumstances on the spastic, doomy psych-death romp, “Of Ghosts and the Grave.”

Matheson’s partner in crime Jeff Bryan has a solid low growl that compliments the dark, oppressive but surprisingly accessible sound of the album nicely. Another string to the Gomorrah bow comes courtesy of session drummer Hannes Grossman (Alkaloid, ex-Obscura). He has truly become one of metal’s most prolific and accomplished drumming talents. Grossman delivers a typically mindboggling and powerhouse performance, blending scattershot rhythms with highly intricate and creative fills and drum patterns, while allowing breathing space for the moments of respite and rolling power of the ample hefty grooves that unfold. His playing is the ideal foil for such dynamic, varied compositions. The album is fast, blasty and brutal, but the atmospheric embellishments and melodic undercurrents, coupled with swift tempo shifts and oodles of groove, makes for a diverse listening experience. Furthermore, for all of Gomorrah’s tricks and intricacies, they’ve crafted a remarkably fluid and cohesive album that gels together smoothly.

Improvements in production (courtesy of Grossman and the band) lends the album a solid boost over its predecessor, featuring a more balanced mix and organic sound in comparison to the clinical and flawed sonic platform of The Haruspex. Album length is often an issue that can derail impact, but Gomorrah get the balance just right, paring this sucker down to a lean, mean and almost too short 26 minutes. The album’s shorter duration is a complimentary element that bodes well for replay value. And this is indeed a highly addictive listen that keeps you clambering back for more.

The Haruspex landed Gomorrah on the radar, but this confident self-titled platter marks the band as a serious force to be reckoned with in the modern death metal scene. Equipped with a tight, inventive and memorable formula, Gomorrah is a ripping slab of cutting edge modern death, technical, brutal, atmospheric and seriously addictive, it’s an album not to be missed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
April 9th, 2019

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    One of the best death metal albums of the year so far- nice write up Luke. pity there is no CD version


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