Review: “Gozer” by Whipworm

Described by mastermind Travis Weinand as the bands most ambitious project to date, Los Angeles Californian Thrash infused Death Metal project Whipworm have prepared a feast on which to dine to follow 2021’s “In The Throes“. A concept album based on the original 1984 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, “Gozer” is said to take a deeper dive into the dark history of the story and reflect upon the sinister and destructive side of the mythology. Beginning with Ivo Shador’s obsession with resurrecting the ancient God Gozer the Gozerian, the films main antagonist, the story then develops into the methods by which Zuul and Vinz use to bring the mighty Gozer back to our world, to ultimately destroy it. As ever, David Ferrara (ex-Cemetery) contributes drums while Weinand (Titan, Burden, Tetsuo) literally does everything else – vocals, guitars, bass, production, engineering, mixing, mastering and even artwork…

…Listening to “Gozer“, it feels like Whipworm have gradually been building up to the magnum opus since the very beginning of the project with 2020 EP “Swarm” with cuts getting progressively longer an more intricate and atmospheric as time has gone under the bridge. “Ivo Shandor” begins with a sample from the original film that sets the dark tone before the Death Groove climbs from the black depths of the poison well in style. Weinand has developed his storytelling abilities while having a more confident vocal, not afraid to add quirky clean moments for some unhinged lyrical insanity as he plays the role of Shandor, a character reminiscent of Dr Frankenstein. The leads are tight and atmospherically sinister, never boiling over into the uncontrolled virtuoso despite several obvious opportunities to derail the train while Ferrara’s kit work impresses throughout. “Gatekeeper” is equally as monstrous, bringing forth a hitherto unwitnessed epic quality in the bands sound, all the thrills and spills of a page turner of a Horror Thriller novel are here lyrically with the dynamic of the ever changing vocal landscape giving it a third dimension. There are moments that are reminiscent of early Nekrogoblikon, an indication of the Earth shattering, otherworldly qualities of musicianship presented here. “Keymaster” reinforces that notion with some warm synths in the swirling madness of haunting Death Metal riffs and punchy percussive battery, the cut attacking in waves from sinister and menacing moments that lead into full throttle attack with rampaging leads to die for.

Well chosen samples from the film keep the narrative firmly on track, top and tailing each track while giving a fleeting moments respite before the next white knuckle thrill ride begins. “Destructor” is one of many titles given to Gozer over the many centuries and in this one the God is also referenced as “The Traveler” as Weinand sounds like a member of a cult about to begin a sacrificial ritual. The leads and solos once again raise the hairs on the back of the neck, the cinematics of this one in particular standing out from the pack of stand out cuts as the duo once again outdo themselves. Another rip-roaring affair, the title track offers more of everything the record offers as a whole but dialled up a notch with some absolutely insane moments including an almost slam vocal from Weinand and Kevin Talley inspired kit work from Ferrara who blasts his way through parts of this like an apex predator with a taste for blood. The depiction of the end of the World as we know it with total annihilation of everything has never sounded better, the Hans Zimmer inspired final ten seconds of life in this one being a masterful ending. Before anyone thinks the Faith No More cover that ends the record is simply an afterthought, it’s actually a perfect fit for the concept of the album as a whole. The duo put their own Death Metal spin on the classic and making it there own while keeping numerous familiar moments to bring the curtain down on this album in style. 34 minutes couldn’t be better spent. [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Ivo Shandor
  2. Gatekeeper
  3. Keymaster
  4. Destructor
  5. Gozer
  6. Surprise! You’re Dead! (Faith No More cover)

Gozer” by Whipworm is out 7th March 2023 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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