Gog: Ironworks

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Gog: Ironworks
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Gog: Ironworks
Ambience, Noise
Season of Mist Records
September 3rd, 2013
Release length: 42:47
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Gog is a one-piece Dark Ambient Noise act that has been making waves throughout the underground for quite some time. Their début album, Past the Deepest Gate, dropped back in 2005, and since then has a total of six albums, two of which are splits, as well as a compilation and EP. For 2013, the entity helmed by Michael Bjella takes the vast deserted lands of Arizona, and points them in a far more dismal direction with Ironworks, an album recorded in the remains of an old factory his family toiled and slaved in many years ago. This recording represents pain, labor, and suffering on a far different scale that what most Metal bands would release today. But, does knowing all this really impact the material on this album, or is it nothing more than a cool story with very little impact to this effort?

Ironworks definitely gives you the sensation of cold, machine-grade steel laced with a truly burdening tone. “1870-1906” finds some distant drumming that sounds more like the rhythm of a machine ticking away with the cold, atmospheric guitars that usher in what would be a more fitting introduction to an American Black Metal recording, slowly getting louder and richer as the seconds pass. Two-and-a-half minutes in, a piano is played, finding the machinery coming to a stop with additional synths to back the truly moving, depressing, and haunting piece plays out, as if the audio version of an entire shops workers crushed hopes and dreams are crushed away before you. “A Promised Eternity Fulfilled with Cancer” brings the piano back, but this time starting earlier. The music played is simply miserable, conveying the inevitability of the cancer that more than likely had formed from the conditions of the factory back then. The turmoil and rage of non-acceptance seems represented by the static in the background. It really becomes impossible to not shed a tear, at least the first time you hear this track, as it almost seems to channel the spirit of someone who passed in a similar manner.

“Tasks Which Destroy Body and Soul” assaults the listener with loud, high pitched noises that start off like metal pipes clanking loudly against one another, fading to a depressing hum that ushers in the rhythmic pounding of a machine in operation. The main driving force behind the entire offering is the deep vocals that come off like throat singing in a lower hum that amplifies the impact of the synths, though what its purpose is isn’t quite clear. Perhaps to convey the crushing sound of large machinery starting up. “I Draw My Strength from You” ends up very open with an ominous feeling established from the guitar feedback. This haunting piece seems more like it is reflecting what the factory is now, closed and empty, though the crushed spirits and lost souls of those who worked there continue to hammer away in some kind of hellish existence beyond the mortal coil. This track, however, is very open for interpretation and could come off as something entirely different to other listeners.

Ironworks is a very creepy, burden filled Ambient album that portrays the suffering of factory workers around the start of the nineteen hundreds. It’s an eerie reminder of where we a a modern society come from, and a stark representation of that era in Arizona’s history. This isn’t a history lesson, so much as the voice of exploited individuals, family members and cohorts, who toiled away at places like this to support themselves and their families, and don’t have the ability to remind us of it themselves. This is a harsh reality check for those who complain about their nine-to-five job as well, putting your grease burns and irritating managers into perspective next to the long hours and hard work our ancestors, some who may still be living, had to do just to put food on their table. And, in a way, this is also the voice of the machine, oppressing the cries of them all regardless of how loud they happen to be here. If you’re a fan of Ambience or Noise recordings, or if you just want something down to earth to feel some kind of connection with, even if this isn’t really your cup of tea, Ironworks by Gog is one that should be heard.

01. 1870-1906 – 5:40
02. Tasks Which Destroy Body and Soul – 6:48
03. God Says to Love You in Chains – 8:38
04. A Promised Eternity Fulfilled with Cancer – 8:02
05. Into Her, She Carved the Word Empty – 8:01
06. I Draw My Strength from You – 5:38
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.