Gorgon – Elegy [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

There were three French metal bands named Gorgon that released records this year1, but we didn’t cover the only one that mattered. Unlike the other Gorgon from France that released a 43-minute album in January, this Gorgon plays an opulent brand of symphonic death metal—a personal favorite subgenre of mine. That their second full-length Elegy released two weeks into the year and is still kicking my posterior like the absolute badass it is should tell you all you need to know. And yet, I’m still talking, so you’d better be listening!

You see, Elegy is one of those rare sophomore efforts that blows the doors off its predecessor, and Titanomachy was no slouch. If you like double harmonic scales and two tons of orchestration draped luxuriously over vicious guitars and pummeling percussion, you won’t find a better example than this. Fleshgod Apocalypse and Septicflesh mated with Aeternam and Stormlord to spawn this exalted being, and yet it carries an identity all its own. While their ancestors tend to split the role of guitars and symphonics to balance the music they respectively create, Gorgon refuse to make such mortal compromises.

Instead, they allow every constituent instrument to embody brutality and beauty together, in unison, without restraint. Nowhere is this more apparent than the epic “Into the Abyss.” At first, you might believe this to be another cut and dry symphonic metal track, albeit a great one. But then the music drops and a brief monologue by an ethereal voice prefaces a divine crescendo that dissolves my spinal chord. Within that euphoric climax, carried by the orchestra for the first few bars, a sneaky trem-picked shadow emerges and asserts absolute dominance, and the rest of my corporeal form is liquefied.

“Into the Abyss” is no mere fluke, make no mistake about that. Each and every one of Elegy’s eight expositions exudes elegant extravagance.2 From the onset of “Origins,” Gorgon prove themselves masters of the music sheet, manipulating countless layers of instrumentation and ensuring all participants kick their share of ass and take their cut of names. “Under a Bleeding Moon” and “Nemesis” are fantastically aggressive numbers, and yet they are supremely memorable for their crushing riffs and indelible choruses. And yes, “The Plagues” is overlong, but being the only song approaching seven minutes is surely no capital offense. Not when every song that comes after is a fabulous banger. Even the atmospheric closer “Elegy” is essential to the album’s success. It is the only reprieve you are allotted and perfectly primes you for an instant replay (or fifty).

You might have noticed my surprisingly infrequent use of the word “riff” to describe a death metal record. Believe me, it’s got ample. But this is one instance where if you as the listener are only appreciating the riffs, then the album has failed you have failed the album. The more time given to Elegy, the better it gets, the stronger it hits, and the ballsier it feels. In my eyes/ears, this is an absolute triumph. Buy it.

Tracks to Check Out: “Under a Bleeding Moon,” “Into the Abyss,” “Ishassara,” and “Of Divinity and Flesh”

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Gorgon, Gorgon, Gohrgone
  2. Nailed it!
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