Tuesday, October 13, 2015

GEHENNA - Deathkamp Ov The Skull

Gehenna has steadily been releasing various splits and EPs for over twenty years, but the latest record Deathkamp Ov The Skull may be their most frantic and chaotic yet. The last handful of splits have shown various forms of the band. “Disciple In My Own Image” and “Lord Of The Witch” showcased a nightmarish psychedelic sound that was only previously touched on whilst “Get Fucked Up” and “Within The Peyote Cult” (You can even throw in the split with Integrity because it smashed together both an experimental side and the fast thrash that makes them so recognizable) were fast rippers. 

Combined with the last two or three EPs on Holy Terror records, Deathkamp Ov The Skull is a slow, methodical crawl into the maelstrom. Clocking in at over seven minutes, the opening eponymous track is a true journey. They draw you in that slow build up, teasing that moment where everything melts down and chaos rains. But it doesn't come just yet. Mike Cheese's vocals dominate the soundscape as tortured howls. And it isn't until past the four minute mark that the pace quickens and you're in the midst of an unstoppable attack. Any hint of a lengthy crawl is quickly replaced by pounding drums and squealing guitars. The breakneck speed slides right into the follow up track “First Blood Part II” (Which I think was “Strategic Annihilation” on the highly limited and sought after They Begged For A War lathe cut released a few years back?). 

It's a quick vicious whirlwind. As the music washes over you, it's like being trapped in a storm with no escape. Suffocating and dangerous. To compare it with their previous material isn't fair because for my money, this is them at their most violent but the overall power reminds of a track like “No One Will Miss You” or a “I Made You” off their second full-length Upon The Gravehill. “First Blood Part II” is over in a flash. 

“TormentOrr” is a fucking awesome track. Gehenna enlists Integrity's legendary voice Dwid Hellion and Orr's insane level of riffs to put a brand new spin on an older track. The result is an audio assault on the senses. The combination of Mike Cheese and Dwid on vocals is something truly terrifying – as is the cries of “I'm your tormentor”. It's a killer track and a perfect way to close things out. 

In three tracks, Gehenna reminds the masses why they're one of the best and just how ridiculously good the upcoming full-length is going to be. Whilst they've remained in the shadows a bit over the last couple years, perfecting their plan of attack Gehenna is going to be doing a West Coast tour soon and you'd be a fool to miss out if you have any semblance of a chance to see them. The last couple of records have shown that no matter if it's fast or slow paced, they're going to fucking attack and there's no shelter in sight.