Released: 2016, Test Your Metal Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Can't really speak to the other Gomorrahs – the one from England, for example, or the ones from Colorado, Ohio or New Jersey, and probably elsewhere – but Kelowna, British Columbia's Gomorrah are a formidable bunch whose second album blends black metal and technical death metal with thundering grooves and industrial clangor with impressive results.
The one-time black metal duo of vocalist Jeff Bryan and guitarist Bowen Matheson not only have expanded their lineup – being joined recently by drummer Casey Long-Read – but their sonic palette as well to now capture the essence of the likes of Behemoth, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and Fear Factory in one brutally efficient package. The Haruspex clocks in a just over a half-hour, but packs as much wallop as albums twice as long.
Set to mechanically precise but stampeding backbeats – not sure if Long-Read played here or Bryan and Matheson used programmed drums – the album hurtles along with abandon yet is anything but reckless. Its industrial weight gives it an almost rigid feel, which helps keep the technical aspects from getting, well, too technical and accentuates the heft of Matheson's dense, dissonant guitaring.
His riffs are as massive as they are fleet and athletic, especially on “Crowns of Flesh,” and “Sitra Achra,” and the shrill sheen he layers over top of “Carcosa,” “The Mark of Veritas” or “Dismantling The Throne” make things downright cacophonous. Add to that Bryan's mighty, full-throated, pure death metal roar, even on the stutter-step hookiness of “Venom and Rapture” or the mid-tempo, almost nu metally “Cerulean,” and The Haruspex is one punishing affair.
Working as a pair certainly seems to work in Bryan and Matheson's favor here. They keep things tight almost as a matter of necessity, thus there's precious little fluff or superfluous padding on The Haruspex. Instead, it's focused and utterly ferocious. Which is really all you need.