A Transylvanian Funeral // Gorgos Goetia
Rating: 1.5/5.0 — BM with the grim taste of mildew?
Label: Forbidden Records
Websites: facebook.com/atransylvanianfuneral | myspace.com/atransylvanianfuneral
Release Dates: EU: 2013.03.20 | US: 03.20.2013
When I think old-school, ’80s or early ’90s style black metal my mind naturally spirals through the rabbit hole landing squarely in the frozen planes of Norway to bands like Darkthrone and the rawness of Transylvanian Hunger or Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, my mind certainly doesn’t go bounding off like Alice into the dusty, critter infested, heat of Tucson Arizona. Nor, to be more precise, towards Sleepwalker and his one-man homage to Satan – A Transylvanian Funeral. Gorgos Goetia, 2 years and some change in the making, marches in the footsteps of ATF’s self titled 2009 release and 2010’s The Outsider. Coming into this I had absolutely no expectations for this album. Never having heard of this project, or listened to any of their releases, my sole reason for picking up the album was that the band name sounded wickedly cool and I hoped the album oozed death, blood and vampirism from every pore! I’ve discovered once again, just like not judging a book by its cover, you can’t judge a band by their band name. No vampires. WTF?
Kicking off with the vocals on Gorgos Goetia, Sleepwalker has a singing style reminiscent of early John Haughm (Agalloch), and the bygone days of From which of this Oak where Haughm adopted his low, harsh, aggressive, convincingly stark black metal drenched approach. Tracks like “Percival in Black Armour “, “Burning Astral Hunger” and “Hymn to a Gorgon” showcase Sleepwalker’s pleasantly moody, evil, blackened, low register screams and his croaking almost whispered growls – gotta say I like these muchly.
While conclusively proving the complete lack of vampirism included in this album, I did come across some lyrical gems that touched my blackened heart. ATF has drawn from a variety of interesting sources for the lyrical backbone to his metal monster – Delmore Schwartz’s poem ‘Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day’ adds an interesting flavor to “Burning Astral Hunger” while an extract from Poe’s poem ‘Spirits of the Dead’ leaves you with a heavy hearted feeling at the end of “Moonchild”, and then there’s the hints to Arthurian legends in “Percival in Black Armour” – a partially satisfied bookwormy nerd I am.
Much of Gorgos Goetia consists of stock standard black-metal-by-numbers; fast, distorted, electric guitars, trem picking and the hostile, jolting blast beats. In this instance, however, it’s stretched across 12 tracks reaching an astounding 72 long minutes [Has this dude never heard of editing? – AMG]. The layers of guitar harmonies that normally kick monotony in the balls, aren’t featured on Gorgos Goetia and combined with the improvisational style, you’re left musically with an incohesive and mostly jarring offering that has a tendency to drag. Aside from some lyrical highlights, the intro to “Mars Exalted in Capricorn” and the track “Hymn to a Gorgon” instantly strike me as a strange blend of Loss and Skitliv. I could almost hear where Maniac’s vocals might kick in – only to be disappointed when they didn’t. These, would be ‘moments of cracked grandeur’, are short-lived and few and far between you could say.
If you’re at a loose end and you compulsively need to download something off of iTunes, grab “Hymn to a Gorgon”, it’s a decent enough track, but don’t expect re-definition or re-invention of the black metal genre from it. There’s not a whole hell of a lot setting this song or this album apart from the any number of raw black metal album’s you probably already have, tossed on a shelf somewhere gathering mildew – Gorgos Goetia is done and re-done black metal at best.