Gorephilia
In the Eye of Nothing

Gorephilia’s style is most reminiscent, to my ears, of death metal in the mid 00’s.  A time when Death metal sought modernization, and evolution from it’s golden era of 88-94.  The spirit remained but bands strived to enhance, production, speed, and heaviness simultaneously into new dimensions beyond the theoretical planes of heaven or hell into a vast, chaotic cosmos.  I think of Decapitated, mid-period Immolation, Bloodbath Unblessing The Purity ep, etc..  However, being Finnish, they feature more plodding-not quite actually doom but close enough-parts. Gorephilia have one foot firmly in 1992, and the other stomped down in present day.  This contributes to an immediate familiarity of their sound. Such that before ever digging into the band I honestly just assumed they were one of those shelved relics of the early 90’s who put out one demo and was next in line to reboot their band in time to ride the wave of cobwebbed OSDM and finally get some recognition.  That is not at all true as the band started in 2006 (Ding! Just the era I referenced).

For a band with a style that oozes familiarity does this soon to be released album push as far into the terrifying cosmos as the cover might suggest?  No, not really.  Is that perfectly fine?  Yes, very much fine.  Of all musical dynamics, the production is most noticeably advanced.  Overall fans will be glad to hear no heaviness was compromised in the progression of this band’s sound.

In the Eyes of Nothing is notably heftier than 2017’s Severed Monolith which definitely had more of the famous chainsaw guitar tone as mimicked by OSDM reenactors like Entrails, but given a modern crunch and which had an overall compression that narrowed it’s sonic field.  Here we have a high quality depth and warmth overall.  If Gorephilia are a musically analog to the cell-harvesting alien of John Carpenter’s The Thing when it escapes back into the base station.  No longer confined to the shed but now has the space to absorb, and grow into it’s horrific maximum potential.

Gorephilia play it smart starting the album with an immediate catchy banger in “Walls of Weeping Eyes”.  That initial riff is why we all love death metal to begin with.  Nothing matches a menacing, infectious riff from huge heaving guitars.  The energy remains quite high through “Ouroboran Labyrinth” until death-doom dedication of track 4, “Devotion upon the Worm” which snakes and winds at 80bpm like slow motion footage of a sandworm rhythmically swimming through the sand sea of Arrakis.  Again, smartly sequenced, track 5 “Consensus” is a 1:30 interlude.  Nothing crazy beyond screeching drone and modulating string bending but it functions to reset the listener’s attention for act two.  “Simplicity of Decay” follows and does an admirable Morbid Angel impression with some focused M.C. Escher solos.  “Not for the Weak” is maybe the tamest song that grooves and chugs unceremoniously.  Not as smartly placed “Death Dream” is a short reverbed guitar and bass interlude that links to final song “Ark of the Undecipherable”.  Frankly, a rather ho-hum end that rather than serving as an exclamation of a climatic journey in fact highlighted that that album arch is mostly a long decay, sustain, and then sudden release.

Fans of the band are aware that vocalist Nemesis sent himself to the realms beyond in 2018 which I can only imagine emotionally disturbed the other guys and lead to a logistic shake up leading to guitarist Jukko Aho to step forward on vocals.  Brilliantly, Jukko’s style is quite close in execution to Nemesis. Personally, Nemesis’ vocals were a key attraction for me as a fan of uncompromisingly low, unintelligible, death bellows.  While Jukko gets goddamn close, and really do sound great, they aren’t Mariana’s Trench depth so for me a bit of the band’s charm left with Nemesis.   Comparatively, Severed Monolith had an exciting, difficult to contain live wire nature between the unwieldy solos and adrenalin cranked drumming that made the plodding atmospheric parts most welcome.

In the Eye of Nothing is a deserving entry into their discography but, while it does contains some of the bands most immediately memorable riffs and biggest sound, there is a notable energy missing.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mars Budziszewski
October 22nd, 2020

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