(After being on hiatus for a while, Andy Synn‘s Waxing Lyrical series returns today with answers to Andy’s standard questions by Jeff Bryan of the Canadian band Gomorrah.)
I’ve been an avid follower of Canadian death-dealers Gomorrah ever since I stumbled across their sophomore album, The Haruspex, way back in 2016.
More recently I spent some of my own time waxing lyrical about their third, self-titled, record which – spoiler alert – is very likely going to make an appearance in my personal end of year list at this rate.
Therefore you need to understand that when I reached out the band to take part in this column I did so not just as a highly respected, dare I say beloved, Metal writer… cough… but as an honest to god fan.
So you can imagine how pleased I was when the band’s vocalist Jeff Bryan agreed to provide this short but sweet insight into how the lyrical side of the band has come together over the years.
I got my start writing lyrics in a previous band, where I wrote everything for their vocalist. However when it came time to record the vocalist they/we had was unsuitable for the project and so I ended up becoming the vocalist for that band as well.
I became the vocalist of Gomorrah when Bowen [Matheson] phoned me after he had fired everybody else in the band and was wondering if I wanted to collaborate with him on a new direction, where he’d leave me to write the lyrics and I’d leave him to write the riffs, and we’ve found that this is the best creative process to keep our work flowing.
What I write about depends upon what I’m feeling interested in or inspired by at the time. Mostly, my lyrics revolve around dark fantasy, sci-fi, and whatever other media I’m currently reading, viewing, or writing.
First off I free-form write paragraphs and then I go in and choose sections which are cohesive (topic-wise). Then I’ll further break those down into syllabic groups that work well in the song.
From there I freestyle the delivery in the studio, which is why the majority of what you hear on the record is my first and only take – no layers, no punch-ins, no editing!
One lyric from another band outside my own which really resonates with me is the line “Iskhander built the gates with blocks of stone and iron” from “Iskhander D’hul Karnon” by Nile.
It’s the catchiest line in death metal ‐ ever.
These days I’m a lot less prepared entering recording, and it fosters a more natural, much more spontaneous and improvised performance. This leaves a lot of room for unique one‐off ideas (inflections, phrasing, etc), most of which we often keep in the final recording.
“Nine Kings of Sulphur” is a horror story that lays out the storyline of the entire narrative across The Haruspex. It is the only song that directly references Haruspicy (the practice of divining the future through the sifting of entrails), and the use of imagery correlating to the album cover.
He, the haruspex, dividing prophecy
Among the twisted nails that drip with death the innards forfeit sight
This was the last song I wrote lyrics for on The Haruspex, but it was my favourite song the moment I heard it. I was pretty demotivated/burnt out on writing lyrics at the time, but the way this song came out makes it probably my favourite on the record.
For the lyrics on “For Those of Eld” I took my main inspiration from reading The Dark Tower by Stephen King and implemented that subject matter into this song.
Worn on the face like a scar
for the White and those of Eld
This is my favourite line and, as opposed to the last record, I clearly became a lot more comfortable with direct plagiarism!
We are currently writing our follow-up to the self‐titled album, to be released on Willowtip Records.
And if you want to support us directly, you can check out and order the re‐release of our latest album (and associated merchandise) at http://willowtip.com/bands/details/gomorrah.aspx