I had the fortitude to come across GOG’s previous album, Ironworks, and was astonished with what I discovered. On his previous album, Michael Bjella (the man behind GOG) explored the noise and industrial scenes with much precision and no hesitation when it comes to how extreme a musical offering can be. The ability of Bjella to retain the harsh industrial vibe and also bring forth a more melodic side of the band was uncanny and I was looking forward to what I was going to hear next from the band.
So just about a year after Ironworks, GOG returns with its self-titled album, through King of Monster Records. And from the very start of the opening track, “The Lies, They Want to Give you Something,” the familiar dense industrial background of the band arises with the melodic keyboard part on the spotlight. This fusion of dissonance and harmony is insane, and while the track evolves and takes an even fuller sound GOG still retains this fine balance between chaos and order.
What is more surprising is what comes in next, because at about four and a half minutes in the opening track there is a sudden change with Bjella bringing on a black metal-y drenched industrial assault. And even though GOG always had a certain connection with black metal (mainly through the shrieking, distorted vocals), the band was not so open about it before. The same incident occurs about three and a half minutes in “The First Cure,” where GOG even incorporate blastbeats to accompany their industrial noise sound.
Of course the strongest point of the band is their ability to conjure an otherworldly ambiance. Even when it is grotesque and menacing, as is the case with the first part of “Before You Go, We’d Love to Tear You to Fucking Pieces,” as Bjella unleashes his most unforgiving and insane self for all to see. But there are times when the center of mass of the band starts to lean towards more melodic offerings, as is for instance the beautiful start of “The First Cure,” with Francesca Marongiou of Agarttha (you should check out their album A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands). And then there are times when GOG puts everything behind and either strips down their music to its core, as is the case with the second part of “Before You Go, We’d Love to Tear You To Fucking Pieces,” and even better, the closing track of the album, “First Night After Death.” The dreary nature of the final track really sticks with you and you will find yourself hitting repeat once the song is over.
With a variety of interesting twists and turns, GOG has been able to expand their sound even further. The inclusion of new elements to their music and the experimentation with the already existing aspects of their sounds makes this a seriously intriguing listen. It is going to feel like you are lost within a certain house on Oak Tree Lane (or is it Ash Tree Lane?) If you are into extreme experimental music then you should not miss out on this!
9.0 / 10
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