Australian black and death metal acts usually opt for the most extreme ends of the genres, blasting away with ferocious tempos and vicious riffing pushing the music to the very brink of comprehensibility. When this approach works (when practiced by Bestial Warlust, Nazxul, Destroyer 666) it can be a rush of titanic proportions. When it doesn’t (Sadistik Execution) it simply becomes dumb.
Thus the arrival of the more restrained tones of Gospel Of The Horns were welcome to my ears indeed. Owing a decent amount of influence to Bathory in the song writing sense, GOTH (as they will be referred to from here on out) craft memorable riffs and songs that are bathed in the power of current death and black metal, but with a wide eye peering at the song writing styles of the two genre’s earlier heroes. In fact, the band’s sound here is so evenly divided between attributes of black and/or death metal that I’m loath to label them as belonging wholly to one or the other.
Genre assessment aside, the real meat here lies in the quality of the songs on this mini-LP, which are uniformly great. “Desolation Descending” blends thrashy speed with mid-tempo thunder, while the title cut majestically rides a deliberate and forceful mid-tempo throb, very (un)blessed by the looming specter of Bathory smiling down upon it’s structure. And let’s not forget the band’s anthem “Gospel Of The Horns,” which is the best thing here, not only because it’s a killer cut, but also how well it reveals band bassist/vocalist Howitzer as a front man to watch. The production is a trifle thin, but with material this mindful of elder dark metal influences, a less than squeaky clean sound is actually the preferable way to go.
And really, with a drummer named Hellcunt, how could this band be anything but great?