Friday, December 24, 2010

Gorgonea Prima - Black Coal Depression (2010)

Gorgonea Prima can be summed up quite easily in my eyes: they are absolutely, completely fucking awesome, and their riffs are largely worthless.  I have no qualms about this opinion, which as you might imagine poses a bit of a conflict.

So what are they?  Nothing more or less than the rebirth of With No Human Intervention-era Aborym, upgraded and touting a couple extra sticks of RAM.  Check the (completely fucking awesome) neon blue Mortal Kombat outerspace rave armor action they have going on.  I mean, Aborym used black light corpsepaint how many years ago, yet no one copies them.  Now Gorgonea Prima step in and change the whole game with goddamn battlesuits.  And since we're talking about how cool these guys are, I have to mention I love the atomic pentagram.  Best new band symbol in forever, and all they did was erase some lines and throw balls in there.  Satan is science, Satan is the future!  Brilliant.

Oh and they play music, too.  "Daylight Pollution" kicks off this spacejam like some genetically-mangled clone of "With No Human Intervention," synths lancing through the trees, reptilian vocals broadcasting on every frequency, little industrial samples kicking up knots of survivors here and there.  The only thing missing is, well, the riffs.  Gorgonea Prima take the usual industrial metal approach of using guitars as a textural foundation for everything else without imbuing them with any significant substance.  It works here because the "everything else" is generally mesmerizing upon first listen, and the overall production is excellent - thick, crunchy, layered, and still clear - but it doesn't help the lasting power of the songs one bit.  Eventually the left-panned guitar introduces something that almost sounds like it's supposed to be a melody, but it's mostly disconcerting and makes me feel awkward listening to it.  Then "Blast Furnace" kicks in with some chewy hardstyle four on the floors, getting you amped before you can even parse any of the other data being hurled at you.  The song structure is totally hardstyle as well, all builds and breaks and a couple glorious climaxes.  The guitars are still those primal black metal chords that the last tenants left in the basement, but they don't get any real focus and are never left alone long enough to break anything, so you just can't be mad. 

"Corroded Landscape" is the highlight here and the major sign to me that these guys are the real deal.  Opening with nice, spacey phased synth layers and a mellow instrumental section probably co-written by Akira Yamaoka, you're tricked into thinking this is going to be the chill filler of the album until everything else kicks in and you're suddenly nipples-deep in a wormhole of hooting vocals, spoken word, double bass, female operatics, four on the floor, sliced beats, and just about everything else awesome on the periodic table.  The pacing is fucking great, the guitars never leave it hanging, it's introspective yet exhiliarating, and the whole time I'm shuffling with my claws in the air like some modern Internet-adrift victim of bastardized cultures, not knowing how to venerate all of my impulses and just mashing them together like a dung beetle making a nest.  Gott mos!

"Eclipsed by the Sun" is a commando assault in the dying night, blasting off with synth turbulence before wending its way towards more precise electronic maneuvers.  "Biomechanic Soul" likewise starts on a two-minute spree of escalation, then lowers the resource drain to even its keel. "100 Years of Industrial Burial" is that chill filler I expected "Corroded Landscape" to be, all space horror ambience, loungey drum programming, and some really buried black metal lurking in the middle, but calling it filler really isn't fair, as it's one of the more interesting tracks here.  "Digital Desire" brings the mood back up with some breakcore and final boss keyboard chorus pomp; even a new riff!  It's a nice way to go out, since all of the other tracks after "Corroded Landscape" don't quite pass the good mark.

Industrial metal has seen some significant progress in the past few years, with bands like Control Human Delete exploring the terrors of hyperspace and more degenerate entities like CSSABA tapping into the potential of dark matter.  Since Aborym are going in more progressive directions, it pleases me to know that a band like Gorgonea Prima is here to rapidly fill that niche.  Yet, while I find everything else compelling about them, this duo is really being held back by their guitarwork.  This would be the perfect opportunity to find a more technical guitarist and one of the original two to captain the synthesizers during shows.  Or they could just pay more attention to the riffs.  Either way, as you should have noted from the first sentence of this review I'll be anxiously waiting for the next abduction under the arboreal awning, gazing longingly at the stars while eating out of cans and squirrel nut hoards.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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