Monday, September 3, 2012

Gouge - Doomed To Death

Before I further criticize the band's tendencies, I must admit that for such a cheesy cover art, Gouge managed to gouge out a surprisingly heavily balanced and strictness-inflected session of regurgitating, gore-obsessed old school death/grind. These Norwegians are completely new to the scene (although the duo are also currently focusing on a relatively more seasoned black/thrash act named Condor) yet they were quite potent whilst conflating the sheer unbridled aggression of Terrorizer with early Death, some Repulsion and even speckles of the culminating brutal thrash excursions of the late 80's-early 90's, and their burden of skills is raised to an even higher state and augmented as they sign to Hell's Headbangers Records. I am no hardcore grindcore fan, as I've only accepted the furious attacks of the bands aforementioned along with perhaps a few more, yet I can't help but get caught up in the frivolous, adventurous but strictly gore-riddled inflammatory conflagrations that these wild Norwegians can produce, and throughout it's eleven minute brevity I enjoyed myself more often than I had expected.

Gouge boasts a terrific metallic, sordid and chubby guitar tone that's engulfing; and the tone is frankly the main meat underpinning the engrossing barrage of riffs. Most bands who explore the same territory as Gouge are, as I stated above, generally repetitive and dessicated to me, going on and on with blatant ramparts of continuous chord barrages, and Gouge does not, of course, completely deviate from this rule, but the ruinous incursions are now eked out with queerly refreshing melody patterns, and the bulbous tone obviously helps too. The deviation is also crucial in between the songs. Gouge creates songs with relatively awkward structures, preferring to blast out immense chord and tremolo sequences which divide among themselves, and the vocals are somewhat subtle and alien to the devouring mix of the album. They appear rarely, and instead of barking out their guts out, they use deep, almost spine-chilling growls to blend with the frenetic ruptures, a job well done.

The purpose is clear; complete and utter destruction. Gouge have long sought this ideology and they are doing their best to produce formulas that are varied, but still parallel to the idea. The gore-riddled theme is a passive attribute, the way I see it, a festering disease of necrotic flavor, a carnal and abominating diseas that works well with all the riffs, and besides that, and the to-the-point grindcore exhalations, Gouge bloody the listener with further obstructive brute attacks, shattering by inserting bludgeoning mid-paced thrash chugs and stomps, sometimes even laced with the doom-laden specters of Autopsy's most primal forms. The title tracks is my favorite and probably the best example of fruitful combinations of death, thrash and grind. With it's scrofulous gatherings amalgamated, Gouge captures the main essence of their to-be-improved formula, and although the EP wasn't a flawless one, it's certainly a much more repugnant and punishing delivery than the majority of the nostalgic death/grind acts roaming the scenes today. 

Doomed To Death
Ritual Of Gore

Rating: 82%

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