Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2023
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

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: