Gozer – The Path Always Leads To The End (EP)
Release Date: 03/11/23
Running Time: 16:24
Review by Dark Juan
It has been a while since I committed any words to the electronic ether, mainly because my work took me to Morocco and I spent a few days hooning dune buggies and quads around various deserts and teaching the recalcitrant young gentleman that sideways, with full opposite lock, is the only way to corner a dune buggy on sand or loose surfaces and that hills must be met with maximum attack so you can join the birds at the top of them. He discovered that the landings are quite uncomfortable. He also discovered that quads rarely go in the direction that you intend them to on sand, causing your least favourite correspondent to have to drag him out of a couple of ditches where he had binned himself, and said quad. He was also displeased at the facility that Dark Juan displayed when severely outpacing him through said desert on a quad. Dark Juan is unrepentant about this.
I have also discovered a hitherto unknown taste for Moroccan tea. However, five days away from Mrs Dark Juan (being as I was on a different CONTINENT to her) left me with a bit of stress and upset to deal with, hence no writing for a while as well. Dark Juan does not like being away from Mrs Dark Juan as she is his rock and anchor, and I had some mental issues to deal with arising from this, hence the gap in writing. Treasure your significant others, people. Treasure the fuck out of them. I do.
Nevertheless, I’m back, bitches, and the poor unfortunates who are getting the benefit of Dark Juan’s wisdom today are Sheffield’s Gozer, a Post Metal/ Sludge three-piece, who are most definitely not concerned with velocity. The stainless steel, coal-powered Platter Of Splatter ™ has been called once more into operation while Dark Juan spins the four-track offering from these noisy South Yorkshiremen. As a brief aside – Yorkshire as a whole is split into West, South, North and the East Riding. Or cloth Yorkshire, steel and coal Yorkshire, posh Yorkshire, and fish Yorkshire respectively. It is rather fitting that Gozer comes from the part of Yorkshire that is concerned with Metal.
This four-track record opens with ‘The Beginning’ (hahahaha – it would amuse Dark Juan no end if it began with ‘The Conclusion’) and it is an ethereal, sweeping one minute plus of instrumental swoopiness that ends with a sound not unlike a single, solitary alarm tone before there is an explosion of electric alchemy in the form of massively distorted guitar on ‘Celestial River’ which grabbed Dark Juan by the balls and just kept on squeezing. Speed is not a consideration for Gozer, as I have previously stated, as this is a slow, grinding monster of a song that flatters to deceive the listener with a quiet passage and a gossamer peacefulness that is absolutely destroyed by the atavistic roar of guitarist and vocalist Craig Paul. This is not to say that this man is a one trick pony vocally, as he seems to be equally comfortable with a baritone clean vocal as he does with spitting out his own digestive tract. This first proper song reminds Dark Juan of fellow Yorkshire miserablists My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost combined with added Crowbar, and the romanticism and raw power of early Anathema.
‘Gone Away’ is wholly different and is pure Post Metal, all languid groove and slowly building menace. It is a spectacularly Gothic sounding piece of music, simple lines and ambient noise intertwining to produce a piece that is really quite haunting, especially with the ghostly reverberations and the diaphanous, tenuous repeating of the words “Gone away”, building their way ever more forward to the front of the mix and being the only vocal, whereupon the song ends on a single electronic note that is cut off. It’s a very abrupt end to this very atmospheric tune. But also one that fits the musical narrative, almost as if the music has gone away at the point of death and then suddenly there is no more cognition…
“Where The River Meets The Ocean” is the final track on this unhurried EP and begins with mournful cello and finger picked acoustic guitar and yet more of what appear to be Gozer’s trademark haunting, multi-tracked vocals before the band shatter the sad calm with more distortion. This produces a spine-tingling effect that jerks the listener’s attention back to the present from whatever ambient soundscape and thoughtspace they were occupying at the time before Craig returns to the aggressive… no, aggressive is not the right word for his harsher vocals. His impassioned roar. He manages to convey cracked and broken emotions into his voice in the same way that Darren White did in Anathema and The Blood Divine and how Aaron Stainthorpe still does with My Dying Bride, employing a similar roar and ability to dial down the violence to emotional crooning at will. The band also are able to combine ideas that obviously flow from different sources really effectively to produce songs that are dripping with the blood of flayed emotions.
I’ll be honest, this wasn’t even on my review list, and it was just because Gozer came bundled with Zahn when I downloaded these to listen to, and it is one of those happy accidents where the fan comes upon someone or something new that is amazing completely by accident. Gozer are a happy accident for Dark Juan and based upon “The Path Always Leads To The End” it will be a long and adoring relationship Dark Juan will be having with this most unusual and superb South Yorkshire trio.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is processing what it has just heard and has decided that Gozer occupy their own musical stratum and awards them a stonking 9/10. A mark was deducted because this latest bit of musical witchcraft was not long enough, and Dark Juan’s soul is clamouring from more. A full length release would be something very, very special…
01. The Beginning
02. Celestial River
03. Gone Away
04. Where The River Meets The Ocean
Craig Paul – Guitar, vocals
T.J. Fairfax – Drums, vocals
Kieran Sockett – Bass
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