Review – Ghoulgotha: Prophetic Oration of Self 7″

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  • Bio: "Atonal and Dissonant Doom/Death from California. Mixing the past with the future." - Facebook
  • Label: Blood Harvest Records
  • Release Date: September 8th, 2014
  • Genre: Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Ghoulgotha is a four-piece Death and Doom Metal group from San Diego, California with a very surprising line-up. Among the ranks are bass and vocalist J. Palocios (Antebellum, former Invocation War), drummer C. Koryn (Ascended Dead, former Weightlessness), I. Mann on guitars, and the area’s infamous W. Sarantopoulos (Encoffination, Father Befouled) on vocals and guitar. This project formed in 2012, which also saw the release of their first and only demo No Peace to Rest In. For 2014, the band has recorded a split effort with Into Darkness, as well as two songs for a seven-inch vinyl through Sweden’s Blood Harvest Records. But do these two songs manage to impress, or do they simply not work out?

Up first is “Prophetic Oration of Self” and, well, it’s weird to say the least. At first the band hits you deeper buzzing on the guitars, but as you progress into the performance you’ll quickly pick up on the immensely downtuned bass guitar that winds up sounding like the bass in your speakers are blown out when handling Death Metal material. When the pace slows to a Funeral Doom grade crawl, it creates a truly uncompromising and brutal experience that snuff out all light from the already dim musical surroundings. By the three minute mark, the notes start getting out of tune with one another in what sounds like an attempt to be creepy. It works out initially and does its job amicably. The problem is that this is nearly eight minutes long, and the music just starts to become far more eccentric by the four minute mark, taking away from the impact the trudging march the guitars and drums establish at that point. These off sounds appears in some later segments as well, though the pace never really drops to the same speed of molasses, nor does it end up as odd.

“Disintegration Paradox,” however, puts the band’s Death Metal skills on display. The bass kick of the drums really sticks out here, and the rattling noise it makes (keeping with the down tuned theme of their music) can be a bit too much when hammering away at a blistering speed early on. Gradually the performance does come to a crawl, establishing the bleak and helpless environment once more with some leads just past the half way point that bring in a natural eeriness withing the depths Ghoulgotha submerge themselves in.

Ghoulgotha

While the title track does sound a bit odd due to some clashing notes on the guitar, the final product of it, as well as “Disintegration Paradox,” both remain engaging and live up to the atmospheric sensation one would commonly expect upon hearing the style tag of Doom Metal. Visceral Death Metal assaults laced with crushing breaks in speed on par with the likes of Incantation make Prophetic Oration of Self a worthy enough entry into the underground that fans of the brand of punishment will enjoy on vinyl, or as a digital download through the label’s Bandcamp page.

Ghoulgotha

Digital review copy of this release provided by Blood Harvest Records.