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Godthrymm - Reflections Award winner

Godthrymm
Reflections
by Chris Hawkins at 13 February 2020, 4:16 PM

As soon as any avid Doom fan sees the resumes of this band, he/she might need to see a doctor for a sudden spike in heart rate.  Such sudden excitement may be a bit much for one accustomed to painfully slow dirges.  All kidding aside, the pedigree at play here is astonishing.  The band was formed just three short years ago by vocalist/guitarist Hamish Glencross (ex-MY DYING BRIDE, VALLENFYRE, SOLSTICE) and ex-MY DYING BRIDE/ANATHEMA drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels.  After finishing the album, the band added bassist Bob Crolla, the final ingredient in the crushing three-piece, a band comprising all three of Peaceville’s legendary British Doom roster.  While their past shines through this material, GODTHRYMM maintain a signature sound that incorporates a broader take on what would normally be associated with that scene.  The result is nothing short of spellbinding with an aftertaste of excitement from hearing such a fresh offering.

It is simply impossible to hide the degree to which this album has impressed me.  What is astonishing is that this is the band’s first full-length.  Obviously, they have a pot of experience proverbially flowing over, but it isn’t always a guarantee that musicians with such extensive backgrounds will produce music on par with what is expected.  With “Reflections,” GODTHRYMM has blown expectations out of the water.  They have exploited the status of being a three-piece by weaponizing a very live sound, one that could even be deemed organic.

From the very beginning of the album, it is apparent this is going to be something truly special.  There is the initial surge of familiarity but before long, GODTHRYMM demonstrates just how unique their ideas are.  Halfway through the second track, “Among the Exalted,” is an early point in the album when the band demonstrates that the bass is an equal partner in the total sonic structure, truly opening the song up.  Just a simple line, it guides the mood with the guitar harmonies somberly weeping over top.  The tempo increases in the latter section with the bass solidly thumping along underneath.  The fluidity displayed here coupled with such flawless clean transitions is extraordinary.

Generally, I intend to avoid comparing bands to other bands when reviewing music, but in a case such as this, it is unavoidable.  The sound is constructed around mammoth-sized guitar chords which are often harmonized over with a lead sound heavily dosed with chorus a la PARADISE LOST.  The rhythm sound, though, has a thick, not muddy Doom tone that straddles the fence between the traditional Peaceville element and, dare I say, a more American take on things.  It would be incorrect to describe it as a fuzzy sound akin to Matt Pike’s SLEEP tone.  Instead, it is closer to that sweet spot that PALLBEARER have managed to build a career dialing in.  The album features a perfectly dialed-in EQ for the three-piece, one that conveys the immediacy of the material.  The drums hit hard with a markedly punchy, powerful sound where each kick drum hit is like a roundhouse to the face.  Thankfully, the bass is never buried and overall, demonstrates a judicious ability to play the most complimentary role it can, be it clean, dirty, in the pocket, or exploring fills and runs to perfectly embellish things.

The third track, “The Sea as My Grave,” is an even deeper dive.  The level of songwriting on display here is no less than superb.  The band uses momentum to their advantage exploiting the classic trope of hushed verse and screaming chorus.  Hamish’s pipes are put to the test and he passes with flying colors.  His unique timbre recalls Nick Holmes a bit but Hamish sounds like he may have slightly more of a range.  The vocal melodies don’t seem to repeat as much as PARDISE LOST’s sometimes tend to.  The fifth track, “The Light of You,” is a raging song showcasing the band’s proclivity toward aggressive, high-energy Doom.  While that may sound dichotomous, think of the NOLA sound with its emphasis on Pentatonic groove.  Hearing music made from a band considered to be at one end of the spectrum expand their implied sound as such makes them even more endearing.  The band conspicuously draws attention to its ability to jam which is also featured in the following track, “The Grand Reclamation”.  The way the sound opens up as such is a dimension not really present with their compatriots comprising the core British Doom sound, but it is a very BLACK SABBATH thing to do.  All roads lead back to those four heads from Birmingham.  Assets such as these truly set the band apart though that is not to say they ever truly stray outside of the macro version of Doom.

GODTHRYMM is a band that not only honors the revered past with its handling of the material but intends to take that sound to another level.  “Reflections” is by far the best debut full-length yet released in this newly opened decade.  There are myriad emotions represented throughout as various motifs that mine territory from desperation to desolation with ample bits of anger and aggression interjected.  What sets these songs apart are not only the aforementioned elements but also a high level of energy which results in a staggering groove that will appeal to a broad range of potential listeners.  Yes, GODTHRYMM is a Doom band, but one that wisely understands the importance of variation, momentum, and impact, the sheer jolt of the sound that erupts from the speakers.  Coincidentally, the new MY DYING BRIDE is about to drop.  The stage is set for an epic showdown for GODTHRYMM has made a huge leap forward in the most hallowed of genres.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Monsters Lurk Herein
2. Among the Exalted
3. The Sea as My Grave
4. We Are the Dead
5. The Light of You
6. The Grand Reclamation
7. Cursed are the Many
8. Chasmic Shadows
Lineup:
Shaun Taylor-Steels - Drums
Hamish Glencross – Guitars/Vocals
Sasquatch Bob – Bass
Record Label: Profound Lore
     


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Edited 04 June 2020
 

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