Gnosis- ”The Offering of Seven” (Terror From Hell records)
Like an early ’90’s demo straight out of Greece!
Unrefined. Raw. Somewhat sloppy. Echoing, abyssic vocals straight out of the caverns below Styx…in South Florida!?
Indeed, these Americans do what I crave, they channel the Greek 90’s black/death metal esthetics onto a new record, coming out in late 2018. Unlike the legendary demos presented in the early days of the scene, Gnosis are no newcomers. This (rather short) full-length release named The Offering of Seven is their sophomore effort after their debut album The Third-Eye Gate – unleashed upon the world in 2015.
Is there a reason to choose The Offering of Seven over any of the Hellenic higher-tier originals, or at least stand on its own alongside Gnosis‘ main inspirational sources?
To be honest – not really. Not yet. There’s still a long way to go for Gnosis, especially in terms of songwriting and memorability; one just can’t get away with ineffective riffs in this rather primal form of the genre, as these are the backbone – the meat – of it all and not many of these guitar riffs will stick with you after the record is over. There are exceptions that show promise (“Hands of the Fates” and “Golden Wings” have their stronger moments, especially when the guitar parts are enhanced by some fine bass playing and choir/synths) and there seems to be a fair bit of potential that needs to be highlighted more in subsequent works.
Said bass is highly prominent in the mix, reminding me of Kawir‘s earliest incantations. Like with their ancestors, the bass guitar is regularly taking the spotlight here; the lines being played are not strictly following the fuzzily distorted guitar, instead assuming the lead role in various passages. This gives a heavy, grinding thump to the music that adds to the cavernous feel of the record.
So yeah, extra points for capturing a dirty, ugly atmosphere – only thing foul about it is that trebly, scratchy lead guitar tone – it resembles the tonal spectrum of a dental drilling procedure most common people don’t enjoy very much, including me…overall though, the album feels like it was dragged through a pool of putrid mud and slime, one is almost able to “smell” the stench of such premises here.
The vocals stem from the same rotten source, as they fit seamlessly into the grimy vortex of the general sound. Too bad they are very one-dimensional in tonality and offer no real variation over the course of the album. They work best when a choir or synth is being placed on top, adding a sense of relief to the monotony of it all.
Also, don’t start your record with a stereotypical noise intro and don’t end it with daemon speeches/fire/children screams atop – it has been done many times before and better. At least, cut this stuff down in length, because if you had that filler material replaced by another real song, the album would be more of a proper full-length than it actually is.
Like I said earlier, there is potential in this band and if they manage to tone down their weaknesses, we could get something worthwhile out of them in the future. The Offering of Seven is not without its merits, but is ultimately a flawed and rather unmemorable piece of ancient Hellenic extreme metal nostalgia that might summon a craving for better releases of this subgenre (check out “Eumenides”, “Eosforos”, “Fons Acheroni” for prime examples) which is most likely not what the band had originally intended.
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