Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ghoulgotha – The Deathmass Cloak

The incredibly popular Dark Descent Records is kicking off 2015 with the debut full-length album from California’s Ghoulgotha. “The Deathmass Cloak” is the band’s first studio record, and is a lengthy excursion in atmosphere-driven death metal with plenty of doom influence. Though there are quite a few riffs on this album, it would be a misnomer to call if riff-heavy. Instead, “The Deathmass Cloak” is predicated on huge leads that work to create an intense emotional experience. Often times these guitar parts are harmonized, but with mixed results. Metal as a whole has never been about following music theory; in fact, dissonance can often add a very unique element to a band’s music (see: Dissection, Sacramentum, etc.). With that said, it is possible to bend the rules a little bit too much. For the most part, Ghoulgotha does a stellar job with the intervals they choose to harmonize their leads. One of the best examples of this is the song “A Neck For The Nameless Noose”. On the other hand, the lengthy final track, “Levitate Within The Curse”, feels like it deliberately goes out of its way to sound bad, to the point where you almost wonder if somebody is out of tune. I have no doubt this will appeal to some, but it really tests the limits of what can be considered enjoyable, even for death metal.

Beyond just the guitar work, “The Deathmass Cloak” is an enjoyable experience. As the record leans more towards doom than straight ahead death metal, the drumming is not excessively technical (though blast beats are present, they don’t dominate the album). Sometimes the band plays around with interesting rhythms (“Austere Urns”) and is relatively effective in doing so. The vocals, though nothing particularly noteworthy, are putrid enough for death metal. Ultimately, no matter how well each of the individual elements on this album come together, the success of the record is dependent upon the atmosphere it creates. Fortunately, Ghoulgotha  does an excellent job of creating the intended cavernous, monolithic sound. The only major complaint with this record is that it overstays its welcome. Even if the band just cuts off the last (and weakest) song, it would be much improved. Nevertheless, if you are a Dark Descent fan, you will surely be a Ghoulgotha fan!

Be sure to check out and like Ghoulgotha on Facebook!

"A Neck For The Nameless Noose"
"Saturnal Rites"

Final Rating
3.9/5 or 78%. 

Written by Scott

No comments:

Post a Comment