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Gouge - Beyond Death

Beyond Death
by Danny Sanderson at 11 February 2015, 6:03 PM

When most people think of Norway, they think, quite naturally, of Black Metal. It's hard to escape the overarching presence the genre has had within the music scene in this particular Scandinavian nation. Nonetheless, there are plenty of great bands who are thriving without having to resort to donning corpse paint. And there is one, two man band from Koltbotn, in Southern Norway that have proved this best; and no, I'm not talking about DARKTHRONE! GOUGE have been producing some really fast, Tharshy, old school Death Metal here since 2011, and after putting out their seminal five track EP "Doomed to Death" in 2012, the band are on the verge of putting out their first full length, "Beyond Death", which acts as a great way to describe their sound, as we shall see…

The opening track, "Wretched Passion" essential an extreme Thrash song, with fast riffs and vocals which rip through the speakers and set the tone of the album from the get go. The vast majority of the tracks on this album don't get past the three minute mark, and are brilliantly short and to the point, and the first half of the album is finished before you know it, from the brilliant "Breath of the Reaper" and "I Smell of Rotten Death", to the ferocious assault of both "Putrefaction" and "Butcher Attack". "Morbid Curse", the first track of the albums second half, is a fantastic example of how Blackened Thrash should be done. The thick bass line which opens "Malady Macabre" is brilliant, and hangs over the contrasting, razor sharp guitars throughout the whole track. The shortest track on the album, "Uncontrollable Madness", is also one of the best on here, along with "Devil's Debt", an amazingly old school, low-fi affair that clocks in at just over two minutes long. The title track, which closes the album, is another really good, Thrash inflected piece of Death Metal that is a brilliant way to end the album.

The things that I think really make this album are not just the music on offer, but the way it is mixed; it's incredibly low-fi, which works very well on albums like this, and gives them an edge that really adds to the genius of the music. The album is quick, being just under half an hour long, and doesn't go for any tricks or massive, arching tracks to make it any longer than it needs to be.

This is Blackened Thrash/Death Metal at it's finest, and will most likely appeal to anyone who loves this kind of music. The music is firmly rooted in an old school style, and has some genuinely catchy guitar work and vocals on it. Hopefully we won't have to wait three years for the next release from this band. 

4 Star Rating

1. Wretched Passion
2. Breath of the Reaper
3. I Smell of Rotten Death
4. Blood Feast
5. Putrefaction
6. Butcher Attack
7. Morbid Curse
8. Malady Macabre
9. Uncontrollable Madness
10. Chaos and Horror
11. Devil's Debt
12. Beyond Death
Heman Holen- Drums
Christoffer Brathen- Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Record Label: Hell's Headbangers Records


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Edited 04 December 2022

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