Oct 032012

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:













  1. I feel the same way!!! why I never heard of this band before??? loved the songs!!! too bad they don’t have bandcamp, so I could purchase the EP

    • I know — I really wish bands like this who are pretty much vinyl-only would also put the digital files on Bandcamp for download. It would spread the music so much farther and put more money in their pockets, too. Especially for guys like you, the shipping charges for physical stuff are really steep.

      • Yeah, the music would go farther and more money for them. But at least we got NCS to thank for giving us the heads up about killer bands.

      • Youre not taking into account the audience or the people who run the distros…most of the people who buy from places like HHR and NWN arent big fans of digital…Yeah, they’ll download when they have to, but theres a very oldschool, underground mentality about owning physical copies..as well as a belief that if you dont know about these bands, then you shouldnt be listening to them anyway

        I think the market will force them to come around eventually, but its going to be a very slow process

        • I’ve only recently started paying more attention to the kind of bands whose music you’re talking about, finally being driven me to the point where I recently bought a turntable and have started ordering vinyl for the music I can’t get any other way. I think you nailed it when you referred to “a belief that if you dont know about these bands, then you shouldnt be listening to them anyway”. 🙂

          I still think bands like this one are missing out on a much bigger audience, though I’m sure amassing a bigger audience isn’t high on their priority list. I respect their choice, but the other side of this coin is that fans who can’t (or won’t) afford the cost of getting vinyl through international shipment are being deprived of some fuckin great metal. I can’t help but wish that more people could get the enjoyment that comes from owning this music.

          • I find the vinyl-only (or worse, cassette-only) thing to be pretentious as hell. If you want to filter your audience, why not do it by something meaningful, such as the character and quality of your music?

            And that “if you don’t know about me, you don’t deserve to” mentality is pure narcissism. I guess some people hear the word “cult” and aspire to be David Koresh. I didn’t get into metal because I want to belong to something. I got into it because I love the music.

            Obviously, being a douche doesn’t mean your music isn’t worth hearing, but it’s like having a dress code or a secret handshake: it doesn’t actually make you any more special, but it does make you more of an asshole.

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