AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): GOD DISEASE — “APOCALYPTIC DOOM”
In the midst of daily reminders from around the globe that humans are in fact plagued by a god disease (masking won’t help and there’s no vaccine), the band God Disease are about to land a new album, with a title that makes clear what this Finnish group see in their crystal ball: Apocalyptic Doom.
That title is also a fine summing up of the music on this Helsinki band’s second full-length, and a sign of how much further they’ve moved in their evolution from death metal to the most soul-stricken and earth-quaking doom.
The album opener “Ashes” makes the evolution as plain as day. It’s as heavy as granite boulders tumbling down in slow motion — the rhythm guitars and bass traumatically corroded by distortion, the drums functioning like cannons, the macabre growls welling up from dungeon depths. And the agony in the music comes through vividly, in the long moans of the riffs and the wailing and pleading of the lead guitar.
“Ashes” also makes plain that dynamism plays an important role in God Disease‘s songwriting. The band segue into episodes of brutish pounding, but also into outbursts of double-bass thunder and feverishly writhing fretwork. The vocals soar in spine-tingling displays of torment, and the peals of the lead guitar propel the music into a kind of towering grandeur, where the music looms like the vast shadow of death.
All at once, the band show they can put you into a slow headbang, knock your teeth out, and sink you into moods of abandonment and despair, but creating visions of alabaster beauty along the way.
What comes after, in the next five tracks, remains true to these fundamental ingredients, plumbing depths of emotional oppression, soul suffocation, misery, and madness. The music’s crushing heaviness and visceral power are intense, and so are all the dire and daunting melodies — the importance of which can’t be overstated. Those melodies are heartbreaking and harrowing in different ways. They wail like lost spirits and boil like the kind of terrifying grief that’s inconsolable.
As the songs unfold, the band shift the tempos as well as the moods, and find different ways to cause your body to move (and bones to crack). Sometimes it seems like the soundtrack to the cataclysmic end of the world, and sometimes like the lonely march of the bereaved toward a fresh grave.
Routinely, the music reaches a scale that’s monumental and vast, but in “Remembrance” the music bounces and whirls, maybe indeed like a remembrance of some better day, bracketed by the realization that it’s gone forever, while in “Futile Effort To Breathe” there are points at which the song sounds like a savage fight to stay alive, refusing to succumb — though accompanied by the pain of futility, as the title foretells
Throughout the album, the vocals are truly frightening, as if drawing inspiration from a multitude of terrible personal calamities. The closing howls in the very same “Remembrance” and “Futile Effort…“, for example, are so ravaged as to pop a listener’s eyes wide open. And that’s not the only time this happens.
And so Apocalyptic Doom is a fantastic example of multi-faceted songwriting, leading to tracks that are just as effective at moving a listener’s moods like putty in their hands as they are in causing the earth to shake. Over and over again, the album puts shivers down the spine even as it fractures it. By the end, the experience has become so immersive that thoughts of anything else have been exiled. See for yourselves:
GOD DISEASE are:
Ilkka Laaksonen (Vocals)
Henry Randström (Bass)
Mika Elola (Drums)
Apocalyptic Doom features guitars by Are Kangus and Samantha Schuldiner, and Alexandra Wikström contributed additional vocals. The album was mixed by Olli Nokkala at Studio Kolotila and mastered at Trollhorn Music by Henri Sorvali, and was completed with the striking cover art of Nuno Zuki (Belial Nercoarts).
Gruesome Records will release the album on March 10th (Digipak CD and Digital formats), and you can pre-order it now: