Monday, November 19, 2012

Gorath - The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos (2012)

It is never easy to pull the plug on your band. But for Filip Dupont, the founding father of blackened doom band Gorath, it was his call to make. Alone under the moniker for nearly eight years, Dupont crafted a series of records that defied clear genre tagging. After expanding the line-up to include three other members in 2008, the arc of his work began to take shape. Over the course of six albums and twelve years, the tale of the end times has unfolded musically. But with one album left to release, the story must come to end, for both the Apokalypsis, and for Gorath itself. On "The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos," Dupont and company fail to give you the explosion you were hoping for, settling only for a final whimper.

The first part sees the band adopting a much more subdued, mature vision. With the pacing kept slow and the drum beats crushing, there is an ebb and flow. It isn't until passed the two minute point before the first sign of vocals comes in, with some devilish, agonized scream taking things down a decidedly darker road. But, unfortunately, the mix is somewhat murky, leaving the track sounding clouded at times. The low end, crowded with bass, kick drums and ringing distortion, becomes one solid mass. This leaves the vocal track feeling stilted and off center. The even greater issue is in the lack of lateral movement for a track that nearly tops the ten minute mark. A single riff does the lion's share of the heavy lifting, with very little variation. It seems likely that half the run time would have been equally effective, especially taking into account the trudging outro. Were it not for a sign of life in the final thirty seconds, it may seem as though the band had simply lost interest.

The same can not be said for part two, which sees a far more aggressive, albeit simplistic, instrumental taking control early and often. Fans of hammering drums are sure to be satisfied, as the percussion takes a lead role through a series of rolling double kicks and oddly timed snare hits. The vocals hit a low here, with almost entirely incoherent screams and growls coating the track in a filmy haze. And with the levels favoring bass and eliminating the high end, it becomes hard to digest. It makes it that much harder to sell you on a twenty minute part 3, which is ambitious for even the best of bands. But on they march, with a single riff repeated in the quiet early going. The dominant force in the body of the piece seems to be the more traditional, down tempo doom the band had successfully experimented with on their previous release. They even take a moment to show off a softer side with some clean guitars and more delicate picking. The true failure is where things go from here; the buildup of distortion and rage never makes it back to a head, falling into a bizarrely sparing drum and scream pattern that is simply stagnant. And with nearly four minutes of distortion and effects s your last impression, the album ends on a sad note.

After the four horsemen of "Apokalypsis" had run roughshod over all of our collected minds, the hopes were high for the final installment in the Gorath catalog. But with lofty expectations, and a set of songs that never seem to be fully realized, it's as if the horsemen just got tired, and decided to head home for a night in. There is a lack of creativity, and even more than that, a lack of any sort of signature at all. The reckless guitar work of their earlier efforts is completely absent, leaving the three pieces of this saga feeling flat and uninspired. Whatever the case may be, the legacy of Gorath may be doomed to a scuff or scratch. For fans of Filip Dupont and his collected works, it might be better to pretend this one just never happened.


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