Review: Golgotha “Melancholy” [Repulse Records]

Review: Golgotha “Melancholy” [Repulse Records]

- in Reviews
Score 71%
Summary
A sign of the times
71 %
User Rating : 0 (0 votes)
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Golgotha caught me by surprise, as I’ve never heard anyone mention this band before and they also originate from Spain. Granted, I know very little about Spain to begin with, but there are a few things that I’m certain of so to speak. Jámon and chorizo taste delicious and Melancholy is a good album… I’m also eating some of these while you’re reading this.

Actually I’m not, but if you’re can’t get enough of 90’s doom/death/gothic metal, then look no further. You could easily compare this to records like Clouds and Icon, yet we’re dealing with better vocals than those of the former and a minor death metal influence makes this sound more distinctive than that of the latter’s goth ’n roll flavor. You could also compare Melancholy to records such as Waves of Erotasia or Black Vanity, yet there are two distinctive features that make this album sound as unique as it is. Robert Perez doesn’t really growl in a traditional sense, but his gruff voice sounds rather unique. They’re dry and somewhat one dimensional, but a proper death metal growl wouldn’t work for this kind of record. The guitars cover a range of emotions and often remain busy, as they bend, speed up and provide palm-muted crushing passages from time to time. Therefore compositions rarely end up predictable and thus, Melancholy sounds pretty adventurous, if rarely epic in its delivery.

At its best, you end up with a few tunes that nowadays might appear to be somewhat dated, but as a fan of this doom/death/gothic metal style, I don’t see the problem with it. The Paradise Lost-esque “Lonely” spends a fair amount of time wandering through gloom and doom, where breezing keys, soothing female vocals and semi-death metal vocals collide. Even that slow-soaring solo feels like a worthy addition and overall, the result is a long, if welcoming introduction. The rousing and aggressive “Lake of Memories” demonstrates how vibrant this style of doom/death/gothic metal blend once was before it watered down over time. Most importantly, the guitarists steal the spotlights with their unique sense of tasteful, yet metallic riffing… so if you’re hoping for some ”pretty” gothic metal to comfort you, you better look elsewhere. “Stillness” gets close to the early Tiamat territory, yet benefits from a gradual amount of shifts and turns, resulting into a narrative that does feel more epic than anything Johan Edlund had ever written. The vocals loudly belt towards sardonic skies, while the mesmerizing guitar lines appear beneath Robert Perez’s gothic croons. Still, nothing is what it seems, as the unexpected doom/death section halfway through manages to flip the mood as well as the pacing… and I love every second of it.

Although Melancholy sounds stylistically even, there are times when the magic gets lost. “Nothing” could have done with some re-arrangements, as it gradually leads to the most exciting, if unexpected features that appear near the end. Not that the first five minutes of the track are bad, as that humming guitar motif recalls Greg Macintosh’s trademark leads circa Icon and the soothing melancholic crooned sections sound appealing enough, but overall its climax sounds so much better! It’s that energetic speedy death metal riff and that noisy guitar solo that made me yearn for more sections that had more of an edge to them. The worst contesters are the pointless chugging “Immaterial Deceptions” and the overlong bended-boredom of “Virtualis Demens” are hardly enjoyable to begin with. I enjoy the calmer key-driven sections of both, but the former chugs onward with no substance and the latter features a tiring main riff, while the remaining sections don’t justify its length either.

Overall I’d argue that Melancholy expresses itself as a collection of decent songs instead of a record that flows excellently, yet its highlights are clearly redeeming factors. So, why don’t you give Golgotha‘s Melancholy a try? It’s autumn season after all and this would make a fitting soundtrack.

Release date: October 1995

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