Review: “Excerpts From the Dark Age” by Gomorran

The flames of a funeral pyre were lit once more in the heart of Olli Lappalainen in late 2019 as he brought his hiatus from gracing the drum stool to an end with the desire to form a new band and get back to producing new music and that desire became an infectious quality as he persuaded guitarist Joonatan Wiitasalo to end his own hiatus and join him in the journey. Inspired by the works of Ajattara and Cannibal Corpse the pair searched for like minded musicians to grow the ideas they had started working on and once vocalist and guitarist Perttu Laamanen joined and provided lyrical inspirations from the harrowing stories of the Roman Empire, Middle Ages and from Pagan literature the ideas flowed. The trio completed work on their debut EP “Excerpts From the Dark Age” using first song “Black Plague” as a marker for the path that they wanted to tread before bassist Panu Nykänen joined to amplify the lower frequencies as the band went into the recording phase. The band ended up recording independently in their rehearsal room in Vallila, Helsinki before choir, keyboard and strings were arranged and produced by Markus Lappalainen with the band describing themselves as a Nordic Death Metal group that draws influence from the murkiness of Black Metal…

…however in no why, shape or form has the recording quality been affected by the band recording in their rehearsal space, something obvious from the melancholic overtones of the acoustic instrumental opener “Tavern” that sets the scene with the aching addition of a violin and is very much the calm before the oncoming storm as the swirling winds of the tornado that is “Black Plague” bring nothing but endless destruction with them. As if you hadn’t already guessed, Lappalainen brings blast beats and jackhammer footwork a plenty to match the gruff unclean vocals of Laamanen who uses a shriller, caustic bark as his main voice but also drops down to a guttural lower tone for odd phrasings. Embellishing the cutting guitar tone are some icy cold piano moments that add depth and texture to brutally evil effect so it’s no wonder it was chosen as the bench mark for what the band wanted to create because its as powerful an opening track proper as any band could want. Chosen for the first single “Sermon” is equally brutal and slick in transition with Laamanen sounding like a wrathful God and the guitars having a second wave of Black Metal leaning with some stirring, sinister harmonics in the lead moments but its the gargantuan “Hopeless Endeavor” that takes things in a bigger direction with the kind of Symphonic touches that would be best served at a venue like the Albert Hall. Those stylings continue into “Esaiah” which is just as huge sounding and soaked in dark epic grandeur usually reserved for the more majestic end of Black Metal and bands like Solemnity or Earthwomb. The power that they are able to harness is stunning and shows great maturity in musicianship when you consider this is a debut release as the atmosphere they create, shrouded in darkness, is as opulent and beautiful as it is blood stained and monstrous. That pairing within the confines of the record perhaps show the way forward as the knife edge of “Hail Caesar” is Blackened Death Metal in its purist form, a jaggedly riffed affair that breathes new life into a genre that plenty are calling their own and not as many are doing justice to… [8/10]

Track listing

1. Tavern
2. Black Plague
3. Sermon
4. Hopeless Endeavor
5. Esaiah
6. Hail Caesar

Excerpts From the Dark Age” by Gomorran is out 3rd December 2021 via Inverse Records and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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