Gormathon – Following the Beast (Napalm Records)Thursday, 25th September 2014
Judging on name alone, Sweden’s Gormathon might strike one as a band crawling from the bowels of the death metal underworld, yet are a band that delivers a decidedly more melodic and approachable sound. Formed in 2009, Following the Beast is the band’s second full-length outing, a testament to the almost unavoidable influences of other bands of note, which end up molding the sound into one of collectiveness rather than individuality.
Burly, mid-tempo, melodic death metal with able-bodied guitar play and hybrid vocals of dual range, laid out on twelve songs of consistently average quality is what is on the menu today. Gormathon gets things started in strong enough fashion with one of the album’s better songs, a wise choice with “Remedy”. Chunky, thick melodic death, sounding pretty good so far. By track two’s “Land of the Lost” the vocals and lyrics of frontman Tony Sunnhag are now clearly in view, mainly existing somewhere on a collision point of Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg and Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén. Singing the chorus “We are living in the land of the living, we’re living in the land of the lost” Sunnhag reminds me that myself and countless others never saw that Will Farrell take on a bad old TV show. Oh, we’re only two tracks in? Let’s keep going then.
Continuing with Sabatonian choruses and mid-nineties Testament-esque vibes, we hear a steady and even feed of muscular, plodding riffs almost fit for a gym rat, yet not memorable enough to linger. Gormathon doing a decent job at cranking out rehashed, run of the mill pan-metal stylings with a healthy dose of later In Flames nods, especially on “In Benevolence”. Staying the course, “World of Sin” may be the album’s best, and “Remember” takes a stab at the epic, with a dual-axe attack in ballad formation, yet reverting to form in short order. “Into Oblivion” borrows, seemingly, from Metallica’s classic “Blackened” and the finale “Silent Walk” closes things out with some tasty guitar work, but perhaps a little to late to leave anything of staying power behind.