Album: Vanished [EP]
There’s a truly unfortunate stigma that dictates that technical music can’t also be fun. Why not? Why can’t mind-numbing shred have a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor? Why can’t the unbearably heavy also have a whimsical, ethereal light side? After all, a ton of feathers is still a back-breaking amount of feathers–and even things as innocent and lackluster egg shells can still be ferociously sharp to tread upon. It seems as if technical deathcore act Gormogon have been asking the same question with their debut EP, Vanished. The answer? A resounding “Duh–It can!” Vanished,which is anything but lackluster or featherweight, is an obelisk of daunting, limitless technicality mixed with bouncy, fun grooves that keep the listener’s head banging and pulse pounding, forcing them to smile and enjoy the entire release’s run time.
Kicking off with “Bled Out,” Gormogon are bound to let you know that they mean business. Greeted with a spine-shattering, gut-wrenching breakdown and a series of pulverizing grooves, the heavy moments on Vanished are bar none some of the most decimating of any progressive deathcore EP to come out recently–let alone on a breakout release. The drums and bass are a fierce steamroller of relentless, low-end obliteration, while the guitars range from a shreddy, razor-sharp high to a booming, subwoofer-crackling low end. While “Bled Out” and “Deities” make excellent use of their long, intricate song structure to showcase the unfathomable depths which Gormogon are capable of reaching, some of Vanished’s heaviest segments are heard throughout the closing minutes of “The Butcher,” where masterful leads play brilliantly against deep, spine-tingling, goose-bump inducing chugs. All the while, while the instruments are creating groovy, grimy breakdowns of mountain-shattering proportions, the vocals are attacking the listener with an onslaught of various screams and growls. Again, “Bled Out” is an ideal archetype. Making solid use of a low bellow throughout a majority of the track, the listener is caught almost completely off guard by the onset of a shrill high and a subterranean low towards the conclusion of the track. While the EP’s heaviness is a true strong point, it is also counterbalanced by moments of sheer technical bliss and stunning musicianship.
While heavy, relentless pummeling and non-stop, jaw-dropping grooves aren’t terribly out of place on a progressive deathcore album, it is rare to see them done so convincingly by such a young band. The same goes for Gormogon’s ability to write well-thought-out and technically marvelous harmonies and solos. Vanished manages to go from stunningly heavy to disarmingly melodic and ethereal at the drop of a hat. Where the listener feels like they will, before too much more, become almost suffocated in the thick, lachrymating heaviness that the drums, bass and rhythm guitars create, they are saved by the redeeming breath of air that is the leads. Tracks like “The Dream” and “Deities” do this superbly, as does EP highlight “Bled Out.” Just when it feels as if the track is about to bottom out, and has taken all the heaviness it can stand, the anvil is lifted and brilliant, flashy leads join splashy, dispersing cymbal work to create an almost-atmospheric sound, which is joined by the last thing the listener would expect: clean vocals. While this might put off the listener at first, the clean vocals are perhaps one of Gormogon’s most redeeming features. With a subtle, clean croon, the shift in vocals is like ice on a burn, or food for a starving man–just the nourishment the listener needed. Furthermore, such brilliant execution of a difficult facet to include in a deathcore release demonstrates the mastery that Gormogon truly needed to separate themselves from their peers.
However, like it or not, it isn’t either the sheer, bone-rearranging heaviness nor the beautiful, crisp serenity found on Vanished that make it amazing. It’s the combination that Gormogon create with both respective elements the band wields. Whether It’s the sneak attack waged by the sudden and soothing presence of clean vocals, or it’s the drop-of-a-hat nosedive into unfathomable, unbearable heaviness, the sudden changes in mood and style are shocking to the listener in the best way possible. Rather than being just what the listener would expect, Gormogon are anything but. Throwing in flashy, vibrant drum fills and all-of-the-sudden shreddy solos not only because they feel like it, but because they can make it fit. They aren’t simply showing off their prodigal dynamic and talent, but their prodigal ability to write fluid and cohesive songs–because it isn’t every day that a band can write a nearly-eight minute long progressive deathcore song that I am actually eager to listen to again, and again, and again. While each unit of Gormogon’s seemingly limitless arsenal is impressive on it’s own, it’s simply jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring when placed in a complete, cohesive context. Vanished is perhaps one of the most crystal-clear, cut-and-dry examples of an EP which is greater than the sum of it’s parts.
So if you’re looking for a progressive deathcore release that is a cut (or two, or three) above the rest, or a band which is years more developed than even their more experienced peers, look no further thanthe debut EP Vanished by deathcore heavyweights, Gormogon. However, not only is this album brilliant and intelligent, it’s also fun, bouncy and easy to get into. With bone-busting breakdowns and edenic, soulful moments of sheer serenity, this release has a little something for fans of all sorts of progressive, thought provoking, and heavy music.
For Fans Of: The Afterimage, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Bermuda, Nexilva.
By: Connor Welsh