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Devastating Doom! - 100%

Akerthorpe, June 6th, 2018

United Kingdom’s Godthrymm, have unleashed upon the metal world, a devastating EP of doom that is sure to be the beginning of a long and prosperous career spreading misery from one end of the world to the other. In that is where the prosperity lay. “A Grand Reclamation” is certainly bound to be one of the best releases for doom metal in 2018. These 4 tracks are so thick with agony, despair, and other severe expressions of melancholy, that you’ll find it utterly enthralling to say the least. Also, there was something oddly familiar about this release in reference to the guitars. When I looked to see who the band members were, I was pleasantly surprised to see that My Dying Bride guitarist Hamish Glencross is one of the 4 band members. His sheer six string devastation is not to take away from the other members, however. Lee (guitars), Rich (bass), and Shaun (drums), are equally as devastating as their counterpart, and mesh into a unit of doom metal perfection. Not quite sure who does the vocals, though, as the credits do not say. In any event, this piece of metallic madness is so tragically sickening.

The riffage is pure doom metal heaven! You can hear elements of early Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Sleep, and even early Cathedral. Quite intriguing to say the least, as the band goes from the gritty doom riffage to a more clean, almost acoustic style. All through the CD it’s an up and down roller coaster of emotion. Whatever is presented is done so with a pride for the art and a sense of direction that only true fans of this genre can fathom. The drum work, for the most part, is traditional in regards to the type of music played but, if one listens closely, you can pick up vibes of slight technical and progressive elements which only enhances the overall enjoyment of these 4 tracks. The bass is mixed quite well and represents a thundering foundation on which the riffs seems to flow effortlessly. Musically, this is about as good as it gets! The vocals sound odd at first, but after a couple of listens, they really grow on you. They are like a mixture of Candlemass, solitude Aeturnus, (F.o.E. era) Cathedral, Sabbat, and (Burnt Offerings era) Iced Earth. Quite and eclectic mix, but one that serves its purpose flawlessly and without disappointment.

I’m very pleased with this release. It’s one of those pieces that quickly sets a mood and holds you there for the duration. There are bands out there writing songs twice as long, but they aren’t half as good. Fans of this genre need to sit up and take notice of Godthrymm. This CD was released by Transcending Records so contact them about adding this to your collection. If you like any of the above mentioned bands, it would be well worth your time and money spent to check this out!

Strong doom credentials put to use to great effect - 81%

Drequon, April 29th, 2018

This British bunch may be a new addition to the doom metal scene, but it has a lot of pedigree to it, you know. Drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels also handle the sticks for My Dying Bride and have some productive stints with Solstice and Anathema to his credit, whereas Hamish Hamilton Glencross (another ex-My Dying Bride/Solstice stalwart) have been serving guitar duties for Vallenfyre as well. Bassist Rich Mumford is a founding member of persevering death/grind combo Malediction, and Chaz Netherwood is yet another veteran of Solstice, so I guess you good reader can already form, by putting these credentials together, a good mental idea of what Godthrymm is all about. “A Grand Reclamation” is their very first EP, and a good starting line for the whole project if you ask me, with a strong and confident display of grandiose, muscular, enigmatic doom metal.

The highlight on this one will have to be the title track, a supremely confident and well-crafted number with a very astute use of dynamics. The main riff is as heavy as a landslide, but it is immediately followed by sedated, yet intimidating moments where only voice, drums and occasional bass embellishments are heard. Keeping things simple is a very usual concept when it comes to doom metal, but it’s more commonly related to reiteration rather than minimalism, with riffs that drag on and on, plodding rhythmic patterns without variation and all that – and “A Grand Reclamation” is a perfect example of the unexplored potential of the latter approach, being an almost instant winner because of that. When it comes to songwriting, Godthrymm are strong devotees to the genre’s tradition and doesn’t offer much in a sense of modern-day innovations, but they sure do know a thing or two about doom, you see, and it shows in nearly every aspect of this composition. The theatrical, power-metal tinged vocals of Glencross add to the epic feel of the composition, and the more forceful drive towards the end of the track is pretty nice as well. Epic doom metal, as simple as that, and it kicks some serious ass.

Following tracks “Sacred Soil” and “The Pantheon” are not as fascinating as the opening number, but there’s still plenty of seriously strong music going on within the grooves. Track 2 on the EP gives more room for the guitars to shine, with considerably intricate interplay and generous doses of melody. It’s a more otherworldly song than its predecessor, I’d say, making your imagination wander and leaving a slightly uncomfortable aftertaste when it reaches its somewhat abrupt end. “The Pantheon”, on the other hand, is a typically imposing doom metal number, with punishing instrumentation and power chords all over the place. The most ominous track here by far, it’s also the most likely favorite for those looking for My Dying Bride-style instrumentation: it starts quite lively (if saying so makes sense in such a brooding context), but gets truly funereal halfway through, plodding ever slower towards some ethereal final ambiances. Final number “Forevermore”, being not much more than a delicate guitar strumming, may sound pointless when taken on its own, but I think it emphasizes the idea of the record as a unit, an entity that gets more and more menacing while it progresses, ultimately calming down towards a more restrained, contemplative conclusion.

As a record, “A Grand Reclamation” sure lives up to most of the expectation surrounding the whole project. I can see some people expressing reservations concerning the sound production, as it’s more direct and traditional-metal-sounding than more contemporary listeners may be accustomed with, but I think such values actually add to the record’s strength, making perfect sense when you consider Godthrymm’s origins and commitment to the genre’s heritage. I, for one, am looking forward to further developments from the band, and very curious to hear what they’ll have to offer next time around. If doom metal with epic intonations and an early 1990’s feel is your thing, this EP is damn worth picking up.

- Originally written for The Metal Observer: