Ghoulgotha – To Starve the Cross (Dark Descent)

Thursday, 11th August 2016
Rating: 8/10

The second release from California-based Ghoulgotha brings more of their gloomy death metal to the world. The music goes hand in hand with the whole old school scene that is so popular these days but applies a dark twist, using progressive song structures and strangely atonal, haunting melodies to carve it’s own path.

Herein lies the strength and the weakness of To Starve the Cross: the songs are vaguely reminiscent of stuff you may have heard before, but it makes for a much steeper listening curve than other old school bands that rehash the same old stuff over and over. Ghoulgotha’s influences are much harder to pinpoint than other modern-day old school bands due to their way of writing. Some parts Death (Scream Bloody Gore-era) and some parts early doom metal are mixed together with aforementioned progressive elements in what for this reviewer is one of the weirdest musical experiences so far in 2016.

10 tracks clocking in at 54 minutes makes this album something of a chore for anyone who wants to get into it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since such albums usually end up being the ones that stay with you for a long time. But it means a lot of people won’t ”get it” in today’s fast-food style music world. Tracks like ”Village of Flickering Torches” and ”Abyssic Eyes” might be good introductions for anyone wanting to give it a shot however. Though they’re not easy listening by any means, they should suffice to let you know if this album is indeed for you.

For such is the case with Ghoulgotha. Those who get it will probably love it. Those who don’t can find more readily accessible albums and artists to delve into, and no shame in that. This simply isn’t for everyone. But for those who like their metal experimental, brutal and at the same time all-out old school this should be a real treat.

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