Once upon a time there was Winter. At the dawn of the nineties, when sub genres in extreme metal were still obfuscated in hazy mists, there was a band from New York that took the freshly fermenting fruits of death metal from the likes of Autopsy, and slowed them down to a menacing, creeping crawl. Death doom hardly even existed yet as a genre at that point, but Winter can be seen as one of those pioneers that paved the way for many others to follow to this very day.
Even though their output was rather small throughout that final decade of the century, essentially being limited to their debut, ‘Into Darkness’ and the posthumously published EP, ‘Eternal Frost’, these recordings would forever be hallowed in the annals of doom.
The band split up as early as 1992, but they had left an indelible mark on heavy music and were the prime inspiration for other groundbreaking bands like Evoken, Disembowelment and Paradise Lost.
The band reunited in 2012 on occasion of the Roadburn festival. This performance was so well received that the band was planning to do a full European tour. However, this never came to pass due to guitarist, Stephen Flam’s severe hearing damage issues.
After Winter’s demise, Flam had been in several other bands, including Thorn with Roy Mayorga and Serpentine Path together with basically the whole of the Unearthly Trance crew. He played on their second album ‘Emanations’, which is in fact one big Winter worship riff fest.
Göden is Flam’s latest artistic undertaking. The old ghost of Winter is undeniably looming over ‘Beyond Darkness’. The crushing, funereal riffs drip in leaden drops the olden death doom of yore. He even brought on board Tony Pinnisi, who did the keyboards on both of Winter’s original recordings.
Apart from Flam , re-baptised here as Spacewinds and Pinnisi as The Prophet of Goden, the triptych is completed by one NYXTA (Goddess of Night), who turns out to be none other than Vas Kallas, one of the four girls from nineties sleaze rockers, Cycle Sluts from Hell and more recently, the industrial goths of Hanzel und Gretyl.
Göden could, however, not be further away from those easygoing biker chicks. No Crüe style anthems about sex and booze to be found here. This is a deadly serious work.
NYXTA delivers a rather dramatic performance as vocalist, changing her voice from deep growls over solemnly spoken words to a raspy whisper, dependent on what the song requires. This approach reminds me a bit of Bethlehem‘s current vocalist, Onielar, an association probably triggered in part by their shared use of Goethe’s language in their lyrics.
The album is not called ‘Beyond Darkness’ for nought. In every way it is the spiritual follow up to Winter’s debut ‘Into Darkness’, casting a light on a path the band could have chosen had they not split a mere four years into their existence. Flam‘s fathomless guitar tone functions unmistakably as a guide on this conceptual journey through space and time.
A fascinating follow up in a chapter of one of death doom’s true pioneers.
Release date: May 08 2020
Label: Svart Records
- Glowing Red Sun
- Manifestation I Tolling Death Bells
- Manifestation II A New Order
- Cosmic Blood
- Manifestation III The Spawn of Malevolence
- Komm Susser Tod
- Genesis Rise
- Manifestation IV The Progeny of Goden
- Dark Nebula
- Manifestation V The Epoch of Goden
- I Am Immortal
- Manifestation VI The Beginning and the End
- Ego Eimie Gy
- Manifestation VII Gaia Rejuvinated
- Manifestation VIII A New Age
- Thundering Silence