Is this a case of Yet Another Extreme Metal Band? An ubiquitous metal offering of the garden-variety in approach and execution? This often comes to mind when a new jewel case of an Extreme Metal band is cracked open and the metal starts to spill out. Seen it, heard it, got the black t-shirt with the unintelligible darkly magic scripture emblazoned on the front. A record with much of the same brand of metal all over again. With almost no difference from the usual and commonplace delivery of their brethren.
Along with genres like Symphonic Metal, Extreme Metal has become somewhat of a household brand. And many fans blatantly expect to get the same or – at least – similar slices of their metal. All cut of the same cloth, delivered in an annoyingly uniform cookie-cutter fashion. And boy do some fans sport acid reactions, if bands trespass and step out of the vile, yet comfortable mainstream.
This (once) definitely spicy hodgepodge of deep and dark underground styles thus attracted a plethora of copycats and freeloaders that cater to this very same mainstream. And this is a pity. Because the genre still generates its fair share of stellar Extreme Metal gigs. Those that definitely carry on with the spirit, yet in a powerful and innovative manner outside the comfortably established beaten path to gory glory. Consequently, the good guys sometimes drown in the masses of mediocre offerings that continue to flood our review pipeline.
Now, contrite RockmusicRaider must admit that this happened to the Swedish Black and Death Metal outfit Godhead Machinery. The band already appeared on the mighty RMR metal detection radar in June 2017 with their single Praise The Flesh. And raised eyebrows with their definitely artful, yet sturdy and somewhat raucous style and approach to Extreme Metal. With a tendency towards the unorthodox that their short, yet juicy début album Ouroboros vigorously confirms.
The sharply pointed metal Godhead Machinery unloads on the fan crowd is raw, rough and hard-bitten, yet again refined and knowing in a way. And some of the uglier and ever returning topics of today’s world clearly ferment within the band. The coarse and sometimes downright evil lyrics are testament to that. They spew forward like the angry, venomous screeching of the old hag in charge to summon the daemon in the smoke-filled hut by the roaring fire.
But the album has its negative moments too. The start of the record with Ouroboros – the title track – is one of those moments. An instrumental, friggin’ 3-minute teeth grinding moment. Why, oh why, do they curtail their already painfully short path to glory with a massive intro? After all the whole record only sports seven tracks on some 31 minutes or so. Then again, the RMR deck crew needed to pay that one some grudging respect after all. It does lead kind of nicely into the record.
Ouroboros really gets you the full spectrum of an Extreme Metal album. And it is all there, from down-in-the-pit low-fi-esque happiness in A House Divided to really reflective and refined, yet roughly-hewn metal shards raining down on ye in The Plague. Imbibed with a fair amount of Darkend and Dark Portrait, and a long shot of NordWitch stashed somewhere in between.
The crusty riffing and the great, strategically placed solos just sprinkle this trifle spice on an already razor-sharp metal cake. Yet, the aforementioned Praise The Flesh, which lives in some symbiotic association with Revelation gets to be da numba one. A superb, yet solemn, dark and ominous slab of Black Doom Metal that made me go for seconds more than once.
Now, Godhead Machinery and their Ouroboros is definitely no case of Yet Another Extreme Metal Band. They put together a thoughtful, yet coarse and sometimes wickedly evil piece of Extreme Metal. Even with its inherent shortness, the album portrays a level of variety seldom found on such blackened records. AND they kept their metal accessible to the masses. A small, but important detail that other bands of more eclectic taste clearly failed to achieve.
So, well done. Ouroboros is a great record that definitely fuels that unholy hunger for more of Godhead Machinery. Keep it coming, folks.
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