Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
No, this is not a solo album from the creepy thing from THE LORD OF THE RINGS and don’t let the cover of chicken feet and women with flowing tresses fool you; beautiful as it is, Golem’s DREAMWEAVER is a monstrously heavy blackened death metal record. These Germans have been around since 1991 and DREAMWEAVER is their third full-length combining equal parts Morbid Angel, Carcass and even some Immortal. The drums of Eric Krebs are brutally fast and heavy yet incredibly tight. The guitar parts of Carsten Mai and Andreas Hilbert are also quite technical and played with precision not usually heard on a death record. Hilbert’s vocals are also not the typical death roar style, but border on a hybrid of black metal growl and death grunt. The only problem I hear is that the bass guitar seems lost in the mix somewhere. It is definitely there but it is extremely difficult to pick out. Not to say the production is bad and with the complexity of this band’s music at hand, it cannot be an easy task to separate everything, but Rainer Humeniuk may as well have stayed at home during recording. Nuclear Blast has labeled Golem as “The German Carcass,” but I must disagree. The music is played much better, cleaner and you don’t need a coroner’s handbook to understand what the hell they are singing about. Morbid Angel, yes; Carcass, no.
The six minute “Al-Ghanor” gets the ball rolling with its blinding drum beats and rasping vocals. “Starchild” is delivered with maximum speed and intensity but maintains a level of precision that normally eludes bands like Nile and Hate Eternal who try this same thing. Nice solo, too. The standout track on the CD has to be “Breeder.” While slower paced than the rest of the tracks, the opening riff and double bass work are stunning. “Diaspora” changes gears and the band invokes their melodic side and visits some great harmonies and even drops a wicked solo. “Faces” reminds me very much of FORMULAS FATAL TO THE FLESH-era Morbid Angel with its technically-weaving guitars and pulverizing drums. “The Tower” gives a serious nod to later Immortal in its vocals, while the keyboard heavy opening owes heavily to Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. The hidden track, “Le Sacre du Printemps,” is a death metal interpretation of an Igor Stravinsky classical piece that quite honestly is worth skipping. Clocking in at over nine minutes, it is an exercise in patience to sit through as the track plods on and on in a dizzying whirlwind of wankery and pretentiousness.
DREAMWEAVER is challenging progressive death metal and for those wishing to hear a band build on their influences rather than simply rehash them, Golem’s latest is definitely worth checking out. This was a real surprise for me and is a welcome break from the generic clones being cranked out seemingly by the dozen.
KILLER KUTS: “Al-Ghanor,” “Starchild,” “Breeder,” “Faces”