The new band from Yorkshire Godthrymm isn’t an inexperienced bunch of young musicians; every one of them has already got the name in bands like My Dying Bride, Solstice, Anathema or Vallenfyre. Their debut album “Reflections” just doesn’t track with the fact, that it was released in 2020, and not in 1990s, when the doom metal scene was flourishing.
Traditional doom metal isn’t a genre for easy discoveries, there’s a reason why it is called so. And Godthrymm plays exactly that kind of traditional doom/heavy metal in the spirit of early Paradise Lost, but the band is rather closer to My Dying Bride with regard to the atmosphere and general mood. This music doesn’t demand some brave experiments or various mix of stylistic shifts, this is 100% uncompromising pure high-quality heavy/doom metal, depressing and gloomy, which delicately touches the heartstrings of listeners. And it is truly soaked in misery and anguish.
The album starts with a beautiful acoustic introduction, and after that the listener is rewarded with heavy classical metal with all its attributes. The music is smooth, with no dramatic changes or sudden surprises. The tempo is mostly below average, and the rhythm is thoughtful and spiritual. Only “The Light of You” and “The Grand Reclamation” offer slight acceleration in the end, but with such slow tempo, it is a notable change. These songs (as well as “We are the Dead”) consists of sophisticated acoustic lines, and during these passages, the emotionality doubly increases. In “The Grand Reclamation” the sound of bass-guitar (played by Sasquatch Bob) is highlighted, and while their singer Hamish Hamilton Glencross sings in agony only by the accompaniment of bass, there’s even more frustration and pain, emanating from this affective song. And in the song “The Light of You” throughout the acoustic passage, Hamish’s voice is even closer to tearful lamentation.
The voice of Hamish varies from hoarse clean vocals to extreme screaming (and there’s even juicy growling on “Among The Exalted”). His manner of singing very well fits to the heavy metal genre with its huskiness and forceful desperation. His voice sometimes reminds of the vocals of James Hetfield from Metallica with similar timbre and pressure. In this musical style the hoarseness of the voice is truly justified, it gives extra shabbiness. The female voice of guest singer (and wife of Hamish) Catherine Glencross joins in songs “Monsters Lurk Herein” and “Cursed Are the Many”, but her voice is always in the background. Her singing softens the music of Godthrymm a little bit and makes it more melancholic and tender.
The importance of bass-guitar isn’t exaggerated, regardless of the fact, that guitar riffs set a tone for the entire mood of the songs. The riffs are primitive and epic, but catchy and suitable. The guitar sound is overdriven, but sometimes the solos are so highly performed, that it’s possible to confuse them with the sound of the violin. The skillfulness of their guitarist (especially in solo parts) isn’t only in his masterful technicality, but in ability to enhance the painful soulfulness as well. There are many complicated and dreary solos throughout the album, especially at the end of the songs (Hamish truly demonstrated his talent in the song “The Sea As My Grave”), which diversify the monotonous aura of this release. The choruses are more expressive and passionate, but without dropping out of the concept of the whole album. And “Reflections” ends with an instrumental song on a pure classical doom metal note.
Godthrymm keeps on doing what was started 30 years ago, this professional and intelligent heavy music prove that it’s possible not only to survive on doom metal scene but to take a stable position.
Release date: February 14th, 2020
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