Thursday, January 24, 2013


Gosforth - Hornlust, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. A Dead Soul Lays in My Flesh
2. Eternal Curse
3. Hornlust
4. Morbid Suicide Desire
5. Thee... We Adore
6. Temptation Chalice
7. From Fetus to the Coffin

Sadly this is the last album we will ever hear from Gosforth and they actually end on quite a high note as far as I'm concerned. For this release they turned to the U.S. label, which, when I first of it, I thought it was a joke. But it turns out that they actually released some really good material when they were in the business of signing bands. This Gosforth album is one of them, and I actually heard Gosforth for the first time because of them. After I heard "Hornlust" I tracked down the other Gosforth releases.

"Hornlust" opens with a really wonderfully engaging opening riff sequence. It was, and still is, quite attention grabbing, so that's one of the stand out points of the album for me. From here "Hornlust" does a good blend of slow and moody Black Metal blended with your fairly standard Darkthrone inspired sections. This album manages to have a lot more atmosphere than the prior Gosforth releases, but they still have that raw Black Metal edge we heard on "V.H.E.M.T." It's kind of surprising how slow this album winds up being, but they speed it up often enough to keep in interesting for me. The leads they layer over their rhythms are pretty well done as well, which adds that extra layer into their music to make it far more interesting. One of the stand out tracks is the closing track "From fetus to the Coffin", which is basically a flat out Doom song it seems. I really wish this song had sped up at some point, because it would've created such an incredible atmosphere between their slow sections and fast. Alas, it stays slow the entire time.

In the end Gosforth slows down considerably, but they create an album that has enough atmosphere to keep me paying attention. They were onto something pretty interesting with this final album, so it would have been interesting if they kept the project going. However, given the majority of much slower sections I'm not surprised to see the musicians form a Doom Metal band named Black Oath. I've never bothered with it though, since I'm not a big fan of Doom Metal... so with this we will just say farewell to Gosforth.

Gosforth - V.H.E.M.T.
Black Blood Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Vhemt
2. Ancestral Othala
3. Evocation of Mantus
4. Call from Beyond Tomb
5. Extinction of Christian Morality
6. Mourning
7. Last Breath of Life
8. Death is Pain... Pain is Lust
9. Raise the Goat to the Throne

After a great split Gosforth wasted no time in getting their first debut album out there for all of us to experience. Gosforth deliver nine songs of fairly standard Black Metal rooted in the earlier style of Scandinavia. Unfortunately, this will put Gosforth in a position to never really stand out in the scene, despite the fact that they do an excellent job of nailing that old style perfectly.

"V.H.E.M.T.", for me, seems to blend a bit of the Scandinavian and German styles of Black Metal. It has that droning feel of the German Black Metal found in the late 90's that was all over Last Episode bands and many people used to complain about. However, fast forward 20 years and people seem to love that more droning style. While that style has been ever present, I think the riff writing wasn't as solid as it is in modern times, so it felt more boring. However, bands like Gosforth are trying to achieve that through very simplistic means and I think that's where a lot of people get bored with the style. For me, I usually can find some enjoyment. Gosforoth at least has enough sense to switch things up. It's not all blasting, it's not all droning, etc. They meander around these ideas and put them together to create a more interesting musical work in the grand scheme of things. They certainly aren't re-inventing the wheel here, but their debut album is an enjoyable listen for what it is, because they are never doing anything poorly. We have good musicians paying homage to a well loved style. Sometimes I swear I've heard some of the riffs before, such as in "Evocation of Mantus" when it hits that groovier section... I can't remember what it is offhand, but I've heard it before from either a Swedish or Norwegian band of some kind. The first verse riff of "Raise the Goat to the Throne" is definitely inspired by Burzum though.

The real major benefit we get out of this is it's a rendition of that well loved style, but with a bit of a better recording quality. On here we can hear everything very well, so its really enjoyable to listen to this. They also took enough care not to make the production over produced, everything still falls within the realms of raw sounding Black Metal. So, if you enjoy that cold era atmosphere of Black Metal then Gosforth is definitely a project worth watching and listening to. I look forward to what they might be out next.

Gosforth & Azaghal - Unholy Terror Union
Black Blood Productions, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. God Liar Prophet
2. Ancient Knowledge
3. Tuoni/Virvatulia

Side Azaghal: ...coming eventually...
Side Gosforth:

After a pretty good demo release with "...God Failed" Gosforth has the privilege of doing a split with the excellent Finnish Black Metal band Azaghal. This is one of the few cases where both bands on the split are quite excellent. This is pressed on 7" vinyl and limited to 666 hand-numbered copies, which I own #393. There is an insert with all the information concerning the recording and numbering, but no lyrics.

Gosforth open their side of the split with an entirely a new song. They've definitely upped the intensity in their songwriting quite a bit from the earlier demos. This tracks feels meaner and faster than the material they've done before. There's a melancholic part in the song where a clean guitar meanders over their Black Metal and it works quite well. It manages to create an extra layer of depth to their music quite nicely. For their second song we have a re-recording of the last track on their "Lyderhorn" demo and this one came out quite well also. Being an older track it feels quite a bit more primitive, but it has that more ancient Black Metal spirit which works very well.

This is an excellent 7" split, which I'm sure has been forgotten to the annals of time by now. However, I've always enjoyed material from both projects so I like to dig this up every now and again and give it a listen. It may not get played often, but I enjoy it when I can.

Gosforth - ...God Failed
Black Blood Production, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. ...God Failed
2. Call from Beyond the Grave
3. Death is Better than Life
4. Eternal Devotion

This is really where my Gosforth collection begins.  The music from "Lyderhorn" was clearly good enough to get noticed by someone out there and now Black Blood Production has stepped in to release their second demo.  The quality is clearly a much higher caliber this time around!

The music feels a lot more complete than the prior demo.  At the very least they have given serious consideration to writing material with longer track lengths.  I feel this has given them the ability to write stronger arrangements for the guitars.  The guitar work is much stronger this time around, albeit they're probably nothing that new to Black Metal.  They have certainly considered adding more atmosphere into their music and during the tracks we'll hear slight touches of ambiance like bells being used in "Death is Better than Life."  This isn't a straight blast beat ridden demo either, Gosforth slows things down for almost all of "Eternal Devotion."  For some reason the slowed down rhythm reminded me of something Beherit put out.  Unfortunately, I thought this was the weakest track because I found their faster material to be much stronger.

The booklet and cassette are both professionally pressed.  Strangely the label felt the need to print their stringent requirements in the booklet.  "No trends, no melody, no gothic, no keyboard oriented shit, no clean female vocals, no posers, no clowns, no rip-off, no christians, no jewish, no muslims here... ONLY PURE FUCKING ARMAGEDDON."  At this point I find some of this stuff a little silly, although I do sort of have fond memories of seeing this written all over my Black Metal years ago.  Like "no melody", even the harshest of Black Metal bands have some melody in their music at times.  Female vocals can also sound very good if well arranged and I have a hell of a lot of respect for women who can pull off both types of vocals.  I certainly agree on all the religious points, Black Metal is not for any of that.  Either way this label put out a good product and I am glad to have a copy of it.

I think Gosforth put together a very promising demo this time around and I think we should all look forward to where this band is going in the future.  I think this shows the band is definitely ready to start recording a full length in the near future.

Gosforth - Lyderhorn
Self-Released, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dawn of a Funeral
2. Lyderhorn
3. Ancient Knowledge

So my friend Sam pulled her resources together and actually managed to find the mp3's of this demo.  Naturally this demo is long gone, so I must resort to reviewing what I can if I hope to review the full discography.

Gosforth's first demo is a very primitive sounding type of Black Metal.  It's very raw and fairly basic in terms of the writing.  It reminds of the days of early Darkthrone.  There is almost no layering in the guitars and it just generates that early 90's Black Metal feel when the genre was first being invented.  The music isn't really all that bad, it's just very general Black Metal, so there really isn't much to describe because everyone that listens to Black Metal should understand what the early 90's sounded like.

The production actually isn't that bad for a demo.  You really can hear everything just fine.  The drums overwhelm the mix a little bit here and there, but at least it isn't a constant problem.  The vocals may overwhelm the guitar at times, but again, I sort of expect this with early demo material to some degree.

In the end this is certainly not something you have to hear.  It's an all too typical beginning for a band that would get a lot better over time.  I was just curious to see where they started out.  It is interesting to see that bands post-2000 can still start out in the very early vein.  I don't know if they were trying to fully emulate that sound or they just did it because that's the type of writing they were capable of.

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