Gothminister – Pandemonium
Release Date: 21.10.22
Running Time: 33:42
Review by Dark Juan
As I maintain my watch over the horrors of the world outside, I sometimes ruminate about the lives of the people who wander past the window of Dark Juan Terrace. I sometimes find it incredible to think that those (to me, I’m sure their families and significant others love them very much) unimportant collections of cells have lives as richly varied and complex as my own. Anyway, I was surprised to discover that there actually is a word for it – this noun is “Sonder”, and it is apparently a particular and peculiar kind of sorrow. You are all aware that I am a sufferer of mental health issues that compromise my ability to see others as people and make my mixing with others quite troublesome and difficult to cope with, which is why I tend to restrict myself and remain indoors. Granted, sometimes I wish I could be more outgoing and social, but it is something I have come to terms with a long time ago and it no longer gives me the same sadness. I have everything I need, and I am content. I have Mrs Dark Juan until she gets bored of me or gets an improved offer, employment, a home and all the music I can shake a forest of sticks at, and some good friends in the Ever-Metal.com team and the music world at large and I am well-fed and watered and safe and in no danger of dying of COVID anytime soon thanks to vaccinations, which means I should be pretty fucking grateful really…
One thing I am very grateful for is Gothminister, of whom I have been a fan since 2003’s “Gothic Electronic Anthems”, and their spasmodic and batshit insane mix of Electronic Body Music, Industrial, Goth and Metal is still just as mouthwatering now as it was then. The title track of this new offering, “Pandemonium” is as gloriously out to lunch as anything that Gothminister have ever released, as the band gleefully twist and break joints and change articulations and sew music into horrific new shapes and then spray it with glitter paint and send it off to terrify the neighbours. It is a dangerously sparking, jerky, spasmodic thing that is overloading on every single influence it can drag into its capacious, stainless-steel toothed maw.
Utilising a method of song-writing that appears to be forcibly artificially inseminating Deathstars with the seed of Static-X, Funker Vogt, Ministry, Suicide Commando and Type O Negative and then training the resultant offspring to perform in a perverse, skin-tight PVC-clad circus of horrors, Gothminister occupy a very niche…. niche in music. The man himself, Gothminister (Bjørn Alexander Brem) is in possession of a remarkable set of pipes that can encompass Hard Rock pathos, Metal aggression, bass crooning designed specifically to relieve goth girls of their underwear in short order and furious roaring, leaving the slightly confused listener just which persona is going to make an appearance next.
The music is just as unusual – shiny American style polished Industrial Metal is violently mated with Gothic choirs, squealing guitars, binkly-twonk keyboards, rampaging Electronic lines, overtly sexual crooning and the fucking kitchen sink and the entire contents of the pantry and the whole thing is an over-produced, gloriously pompous and overblown epic that somehow just WORKS and is utterly and absolutely insane despite the fact it should be a slimy, shuddering, many-tentacled thing that needs to be shot to be put out of its painful, misshapen misery.
‘Run Faster’ chucks the entire record on its head after I have written the above, however, and what with the band previously busily bludgeoning what’s left of your synapses with hypergothic electronic based anthems, this song offers a speedy, stripped back deathride, with some finger-flaying riffing and only a bit of overcooked pomposity in the middle eight and break, otherwise only using a bit of stabby Terror EBM keyboard in the background, and this streamlined song only goes to underline just what kind of moodily-lit vampire-obsessed underworld Gothminister normally inhabits. Contrast this with the likes of ‘This Is Your Darkness’ with its underpinning of Gothic Futurepop Electronica and a mid-paced, downtuned guitar riff that successfully melds Metal and EBM without being as utterly, all-consumingly batshit as the first half of the album, which really does have to be heard to be fucking believed as it really does defy all description.
I have been seated here for a good twenty minutes, in absolute silence, trying to come up with ways to describe the indescribable madness that is a Gothminister album. Purists will fucking hate the band, as they don’t easily sit in any one camp. However, if you are intrepid and willing to let yourself be sucked into lushly produced, blood slick hellmouths masquerading as records, then you might well be impressed and beguiled, if not enchanted at the splattered, crimson splendour of it all. A Gothminister album is an experience not unlike being torn to pieces by a bunch of Cenobites who appreciate aesthetics – they might be industriously flaying the skin from your face while you scream, but then they will stop and regard some kind of exquisite stone scrollwork and pause in what they are doing and discuss the quality of the craftsmanship with you, before sighing in appreciation of the work and returning to vigorously vivisecting your visage.
Production-wise, this record hits all the right notes. If you like extremely over-produced, highly polished music. Everything site perfectly in the mix, including the voice of Gothminister himself, which is unsurprisingly quite forward in the mix but not to the detriment of everything else, like, say, the absolute arse clenching horror that is a Warrior Soul production job that is all Kory fucking Clarke and very little else. There are the odd bits of arrangement that jar a little, and the drums sound totally artificial although there is a human drummer called Chris Dead (possibly not his real name) credited on the record. The guitars are pin sharp, and their tone is produced to within an inch of its life and then a bit more just to make sure, but this is all part of the aesthetic. It has to have a kind of artificial quality for it all to work – a kind of surreal, manufactured, Industrial black netherworld where demons are fused with battle machines and hell is an endless line of humans heading for the meat grinder, looked down upon from a gloriously appointed, luxurious, dark-panelled office where the overseer wants for nothing, where delicious viands are piled carelessly upon a groaning trestle table and rich, claret wine is there for the quaffing…
I’m running away with myself again, aren’t I? Let me drag myself back to reality and get the Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (det patenterte Dark Juan-systemet for blodsprut) to score this motherfucker, eh? 9/10 for another brilliantly executed mindfuck from the Gothminister and his minions.
01. Abgrund (Abyss)
06. Kingdoms Rise
09. Run Faster
10. This Is Your Darkness
Bjørn Alexander Brem (“Gothminister”) – Vocals
Eirik “Blodøks” Øien – Bass
Glenn “Icarus” Nilsen – Guitars
Ketil “Turbo Natas” Eggum – Guitars
Christian Svendsen (“Chris Dead”) – Drums
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