Sometimes I think that if a hateful supreme being brought his fist down on an astral kill-switch for metal and stopped the flow of new music forever, thundering “THOU HAST ENOUGH, AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE!”, we’d all still be fine. I listen to a lot of music, but every week I discover some new band I’d never heard of before, with a history and a discography unknown to me who prove to be worth the time. After many years of listening, I know I’ve still barely scratched the surface.
Take Gospel of the Horns as an example — and by the way, isn’t that a fine, fine band name? It even turns into the acronym G.O.T.H. This band trace their roots to Melbourne, Australia, in the year 1993. They’ve toiled in the darkness for nearly 20 years (with the inevitable changes in line-up), producing a couple of demos, a couple of EPs, two albums, and a compilation, and yet they are new to me.
My introduction to G.O.T.H. came through a five-song 12″ vinyl EP released a bit earlier this year under the name Ceremonial Conjuration, with the music waiting behind the venomous gaze of that goat creature on the cover. What I got was a fistful of slashing, guitar-driven black thrash ‘n’ roll.
G.O.T.H. know how to riff your face like a barbed flail, snapping your head back and forth with one galvanizing chord after another. Trading off between punk rhythms, speed-metal fury, and mid-paced head-busters, G.O.T.H. have created one purulent mass of filth encrusted infection, each song bent on domination and every one very damned effective in accomplishing the mission.
The music is rhythmically dynamic, and the riffs of Masochist are so infernally well-written that they compel physical movement. The music also includes flame-spitting guitar solos that really light up the songs in which they appear. Howitzer’s vocals are raw and reptilian, draping all those head-moving riffs in a shroud of infernal hostility, and the drum and cymbal work (provided by Mersus of Destroyer 666) is galvanizing.
The production on the album isn’t right on the biting edge of crisp, but it’s not in the muddy slop of lo-fi either. The sound is big, booming, and powerful, as it should be.
For this kind of raucous blackened thrash, Ceremonial Conjuration is a near-perfect achievement and one of 2012’s best-kept secrets.
Ceremonial Conjuration was released by the Irish label Invictus Productions and it’s available there, from Iron Bonehead Productions in Europe, from Hells Headbangers in the U.S., and through the band. I also found it in CD form at Napalm Records. The fifth track on the album is a cover of “The Fog”, originally recorded by Goatlord.
All the songs are up on YouTube, and here they are, in the order found on the EP: