Location: New York
Genre: Sludge/death/doom metal
Full Length: Beyond Darkness
Format: Digital album
Label: Svart Records
Release date: May 8, 2020
In 1989 a local Long Island band called Winter helped create what’s known as sludge metal. While that subgenre didn’t exist, the band was so inherently atypical you couldn’t help but notice them. With a crust punk attitude, the heaviness of early Celtic Frost and the apocalyptic furor of Carnivore, they gave the metal scene a view of armageddon unlike anything else. Their debut album hadn’t even been released and the press were already touting them ”the Black Sabbath of the 90s.” Released in 1990, their sole album “Into Darkness” illustrated the aftermath of a global catastrophe too horrible to describe or even remember.
Long after Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Type O Negative and Saturnus redefined metal, guitarist Stephen Flam (also of Thorn and Serpentine Path) formed a new band to continue with the vision he and Winter envisioned. Göden’s “Beyond Darkness” is the logical progression of what Winter began. Dirge laden songwriting, dark, heavy guitars evocative of Tom G; Warrior and death march-like percussion are supplemented with an expanded concept transcending the world’s end and heading to the farthest reaches of the universe. Add eerie, chilling keyboards, strings and an expanded vocal range, and you have a future underground classic.
Can Göden make an impact on underground metal in 2020? “Beyond Darkness” is a suitable title as the album resumes where “Into Darkness” left off. From what I’ve seen, the reviews have been unanimously favorable since its release more than a month ago with no formal announcement or internet buzz. It’s clear that Göden intended for it to speak for itself instead of over hyping it. This was a smart move as reviewers have been responding strictly to what they’re listening to.
To fully understand “Beyond Darkness”, you need to listen to “Into Darkness” if you haven’t heard it yet. “Beyond Darkness” expands on Winter’s full length, turning simplistic progressions into monumental epics with heavy atmosphere, distortion and effects. Adding crust, sludge and death/doom metal that can galvanize fans of My Dying Bride, Opeth and Crisis, it has a feel no longer limited to the earth. Remember “2001: A Space Odyssey”? Or the short story it was based on, “The Sentinel”? This album seems to have the same timeless scope, only the extraterrestrials personified here are not as benevolent where humanity is concerned.
After many years (eons?) of silence after the end of mankind, we sense a darkness far greater dawning. The lone guitars heard at the start herald the arrival of something massive and godlike from the far reaches of space. We never learn where it came from, but its intent is not to make contact with the survivors of the human race, or present an opportunity to start over, but to pass judgment on a species that ultimately destroyed its home with its technological advancements and greed. Its intent is also to reclaim a world it created long ago and repopulate it with its own progeny. Humanity is over and new age is dawning for the earth.
The songs are not overlong, but they provide abstractions of infinite vastness beyond what we thought was out there without insulting your intelligence. Spoken word interludes included between the tracks make the concept more plausible. The sensations of emptiness, melancholia, despair and futility are voiced in a penetratingly tangible way as we witness the events of this story unfolding. The vocals play as important a role as the instruments as they represent each character in this story, from the narrator to the goddess Gaia who plays a major part. Three years in the making, “Beyond Darkness” brings the old essence of Winter into the future. –Dave Wolff
1. Glowing Red Sun
2. Manifestation I - Tolling Death Bells
3. Twilight 4. Manifestation II - A New Order
5. Cosmic Blood
6. Manifestation III - The Spawn Of Malevolence
7. Komm Susser Tod
8. Genesis Rise
9. Manifestation IV - The Progeny Of Goden
10. Dark Nebula
11. Manifestation V - The Epoch Of Goden
12. I Am Immortal
13. Manifestation VI - The Beginning And The End
14. Ego Eimie Gy
15. Manifestation VII - Gaia Rejuvenated
17. Manifestation VIII - A New Age
18. Thundering Silence