Review: “Apocalyptic Doom” by God Disease
Adorned by cover art from Nuno Zuki (Belial Nercoarts) the second full length album “Apocalyptic Doom“ after no less than four EPs since Death Doom trio God Disease emerged from the bleak midwinter of Helsinki Finland a decade ago represents much promise. Mixed by Olli Nokkala (Misery Index, Cryptic Hatred, Ashen Tomb) at Studio Kolotila and mastered by Henri Sorvali (Aegrus, Scheitan, Sepulchral Curse) at Trollhorn Music, the suggestion is that with this the band maybe fully embracing a haunting and poignant Doom Metal sound, something that that have been drifting towards since 2019’s “Drifting Towards Inevitable Death”. Dedication to the dark arts has brought them this far, what have they got left to lose?
A crushing slow death awaits with opening hymn of Doom worship “Ashes“, a pure and authentic piece of work that combines the throat grating vocal power of Ilkka Laaksonen with the majesty of influences from Candlemass and perhaps even My Dying Bride. The leads are stripped back to add a sense of cracks of light in the mournful darkness while some ethereal backing vocals add a majestic power. Crawling from the abyss with a broken heart, the dirge laden “Built by Dead Hands” is yet bleaker still with Laaksonen reaching demonic lows that sound like the call from the void from an otherworldly beast. That may seem on paper at odds with the slow crushing and weighty sound the band create but together they intertwine to form the kind of somber and sobering caustic abrasions that border on shoe gazing territory with epic majesty. A darker and more twisted moment, the longest cut on the record “Remembrance” approaches eight and a half minutes like the serial killer that stealthily approaches by the cover of night, ready to strike at the most opportune moment. The down-tuned guitars from Are Kangus and Samantha Schuldiner are immense, haunting and sinister, carrying with them the sonic weight of a thousand souls as Laaksonen cries out in pain and tears the fabric of space and time in doing so.
Is it possible for Doom Metal to reach and touch the void into Slam territory? “Leper by the Grace of God” finds Laaksonen attempting to do so vocally as riffs float between the Death Metal of bands like God Syndrome and the Doom of Scald with a gripping sense of tension and slick transition proving that monsters may live and breathe in the most unexpected of places. The cut stands out from the pack as something of a throwback to the bands earlier burnt offerings from their Cycle Of Horror Productions released EPs “Abyss Cathedral” and “Doom Howler”, having more cutting edge and more blood and thunder about it. However the band turn their back on that older sound once more in favour of some more haunting darkness in “Futile Effort to Breathe” which finds us back at the altar of hell, consumed by the reverent power God Disease offer. The harrowing and bleak the lyrical narrative calling for a self immolation in the fiery black depths to escape the dull ache of life before the apocalyptic “Serenity Abandoned” destroys everything in its wake like an extinction level event. Breaks in the guitar parts allow Henry Randström’s bass to bleed into the silence while for drummer Mika Elola, to perform such slow material must be the very definition of pain, the skill in doing so something always underrated [7/10]
2. Built by Dead Hands
4. Leper by the Grace of God
5. Futile Effort to Breathe
6. Serenity Abandoned
“Apocalyptic Doom” by God Disease is out 10th March 2023 via Gruesome Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.