GGGOLDDD – This Shame Should Not Be Mine
Release Date: 31/03/22
Running Time: 43:00
Review by Rory Bentley
In 2019 I had a pretty rough year where I went to a really dark place in my head. It was an incredibly painful time that felt like being buried alive by the weight of seismic changes in my life. I was crushed under the rubble of everything falling apart, for months every little thing was difficult and every traumatic event and bad decision I ever made was constantly replayed on the vast projector screen of my broken mind. During this time, aside from the efforts of my amazing friends and family to pull me from the void, I found great solace in the music of that year. Devin Townsend’s “Empath” provided me with the motivation to hang in there and fight through the enveloping coils of depression and back into the light, the good things about life, the reasons to toil through the seemingly perpetual gloom and emerge stronger with a renewed passion for the gift of existence.
But when I needed to sit with the agony and work through the pain that I’d spent too long forcing down, “Caligula” by Lingua Ignota was my go-to soundtrack to stare down the void, to rage and gnash my teeth and feel every drop of anguish, shame and boundless wrath that had lay dormant under the cracked mask I’d plastered over myself to project the image to others and mainly myself, that everything was that wretched word- fine. Kristin Hayter had, and subsequently continues, to capture a level of visceral agony that I’d never experienced from any art form. Her own horrifying story of abuse and trauma, far greater than anything I can truly comprehend, was weaponised in a way that was defiant, triumphant and unfathomably disturbing. Although coming from a place very different from my own existential despair, it resonated with me like a searing blade plunged directly into my shattered heart. This is the power that great art can have, and what I’m discussing today is another example of that.
On “This Shame Should Not Be Mine” GGGOLDDD, and more specifically singer Milena Eva, swim those same dark waters of unresolved abuse in a cathartic magnum opus that often takes me back to that shadowy realm. Though far less abrasive and sonically challenging than “Caligula”, the album crafts something equally powerful and unique. It is a work that evokes so many artists that are the foundations of my musical core. The uniquely feminine wrath of Lingua Ignota and Chelsea Wolfe, the austere Industrial coldness of NIN and the sinister, throbbing melodies of the darkest elements of Depeche Mode. From a rhythmic point of view it has the hypnotic, tribal drumming of Neurosis and on the atmospheric side it reminds me of the terrifying Horrorcore soundscapes of seminal Hip Hop outfit clipping.
The clear standout performer here is understandably Milena Eva, who uses the album to exorcise the trauma of a horrific incident of sexual assault she went through as a teen. Her lyrics are poetic yet often shockingly blunt as exemplified by single ‘Spring’ where, over pulsing Trip Hop beats and sinister baselines she sings ‘I want to shower until my skin falls off’. There is a numb acceptance to her delivery here, sounding exhausted, broken and almost monotone as if she has been hollowed out by the whole experience. Elsewhere she drips with bitter sarcasm at the underlying cultural biases that allow abusers to go unpunished with ‘Strawberry Supper’s’ chilling refrain of “boys will be boys” crooned over stabbing guitars, before exploding into a Black Metal attack as the tension escalates unbearably.
Despite being sledgehammer heavy in so many respects, GGGOLDDD predominantly shy away from using the well-worn tools of the trade typically associated with ‘extreme’ music. The guitars use only minimal distortion, the keys and bass are the driving instruments and songs are often cavernous in their use of space. This provides the perfect arena for the haunting vocals and gut wrenching lyrics to work their dark magic, rarely leaping above a restrained softness despite delivering lyrics that feel like they should be screamed until blood comes up.
In fact, rather than completely mirroring the weight of its subject matter, the album provides multiple moments of catchy accessibility that make the whole experience surprisingly palatable. Whilst calling it an ‘enjoyable’ listen is something of a stretch, it’s hard to resist the shimmering yet robotically tight guitar lines of ‘Invisible’ or the hypnotically sinister beats of ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ as Milena’s vocals swirl around your ears like a serpent charming its prey into a trance. If you like the danceable lurking fear that is found deep into “The Downward Spiral’s” later tracks, then you’ll find a lot to like here.
From the chilling vocoder delivery on the barren ‘On You’ with its mantra of ‘You put your filth on me, I will shake off that dirt, whatever you throw at me is on you’ to the driving closer ‘Beat by Beat’ , there is hope for a better day dotted throughout “This Shame..” which just about shines through the oppressive clouds. In fact, the final track almost ends everything on an upbeat note. Still dark and uncomfortable yet up-tempo and brimming with belief, it’s a subtle yet powerful shift from despair to defiance.
‘This Shame Should Not Be Mine’ is a rare instance where pure naked artistic expression and tight, compositional nous are able to exist side by side without diluting or overwhelming each other. It comes with a huge trigger warning, but those that can withstand its sharpest edges will find some truly magnificent, genre splicing Alternative Rock to reward every tear shed. It never sugar-coats but it is also never drowned by the rolling tides of anguish that threaten to capsize its excellent songs. This one’s an essential listen guys, it will hurt but it will also heal.
‘This Shame Should Not Be Mine’ Official Video
01. I Wish I Was a Wild Thing with a Simple Heart
02. Strawberry Supper
03. Like Magic
06. I Won’t Let You Down
07. Notes on How to Trust
08. This Shame Should Not Be Mine
09. On You
10. Beat by Beat
Milena Eva – Vocals
Thomas Sciarone – Guitar
Jaka Bolic – Guitar
Vincent Shore – Guitar
Danielle Warners – Bass
Igor Wouters – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.