Friday, January 2, 2015

Gnosis:"the Third Eye Gate"

So far death metal with a touch of blackness seems to be the thing for 2015 is the promos in my inbox are any indication. This Florida band  brought to you by Nuclear War Now! falls more firmly on the death metal side. It's a dirty and dark style of death metal not unlike old Incantation. This is about as straight forward of an old school style death metal as you could ever want. There is some groove interspersed in-between the blast beats. The production on the drums leaves a little to be desired as the snare sounds a tad on the flat side, but if you just want raw lo-fi pounding then you are in good hands. As we commonly say around here when it comes to bands like this , is it's easy to be impressed by the sheer heaviness of the band right out from the gate , but then the pressure is on for them to show us if they can ...write songs.

There is a similar formula at work on the second song, though you could not say it's a carbon copy of the first. If you like this sort of thing, how much variance do you want? I am harder to please than your average death metal fan. There are some thrash accents to some of the galloped punches on the second song, but that seems to be the main thing separating it as the vocal are a raspy lower end variety of growl, not pushed out with enough air to be a roar. By the time the album winds its way to"Chariot of the Sun Moon" do the songs become hard to differentiate, though the chugs start to gather a little more gusto. "Cult of the Blood Serpent" even rises up into a battle metal sort of gallop.

It is true these guys adhere to everything you might want out of classic death metal, but they very rarely challenge the status quo and in doing so don't carve out any kind of niche for themselves that would set themselves at the head of the pact. There is a tinge more of effort in the riffs to "Lotan's Dwelling", but the revert back to the color by numbers death metal when it comes to the verses. The phrasing of the growls is pretty predictable as well.They have redemptive value in the aggressive nature the charge the songs forward with, some listeners might want to dumb it down and just need heavy. The infuse this with  punk rock simplicities. At times when they slow you can hear their bassist is doing some pretty cool fills and accents, but he remains buried more often than not.

Lyrical I heard something about Ancient ones, so it's pseudo occult psycho babble, somewhat along the lines of Blessed Are the Sick Morbid Angel, these guys are not trying to be quite so Satanic or really satanic at all instead opting for a more anonymous darkness. The slower section are something this band needs to explore more often instead of waiting until the album is almost over because that is where some of the album's most inspired moments come from. The charge into battle is not over. They pick up the charge on "Gnosis" which must be their theme song. To call the "title track" a song is an exaggeration as it is more of an outro. I'll give this one a 7 these guys haven't reinvented the wheel by a longshot but if you want some no frills death metal they have got it .

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