Spaced-out, ominous and blacker-than-black, one-man event horizon expolaration unit Gog has been cracking open our soft fragile eggshell minds for the past twelve years now and mainman Michael Bjella seems hellbent on inflicting night terrors upon our collective dreamscape for at least another twelve…if not forever.
Quite how the sun-blasted wide-open state of Arizona managed to produce a sound so prone to pitch-darkness I have no idea, but, there is a sense of expansiveness to Gog‘s bleak vistas that may well be borne of that immense expanse of blue sky and weathered red rock – albeit one shot through with occasional spasms of intense claustrophobia and not unlike the sense of vast cosmic dread that bubbles up from the depths of the works of HP Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti.
Gog captures the sound of unfathomable indifferent alien gods that lumber and creep serenely through the twilight abysses between galaxies, the immense grinding cogs of universal engines.
The Lies, They Want To Give You Something begins with subtly jarring metronomic stabs of piano and slowly blooming textural scrub and feedback, atop the jabbing chords a meandering piano melody begins to play out and crashing noisy swathes of guitar begin to intrude. Soon enough the piano is all but swamped by violent collisions of guitar filth and strangulated heavily distorted black metallic vocals, there is a pause, and then full blown black metal hell is unleashed as ethereal tremolo picked guitar hovers above a foggy miasma of slurred sound, pained shrieks and jackhamering drums, ending as abruptly as it began.
Before You Go We’d Love To Tear You To Fucking Pieces takes a swarming thrum of locust-like bass drone, skittering atonal skree and looped distant screaming, drops a pulsing, splashing percussive attack on top of it and runs like fuck with it for seven minutes, pushing and pulling at the sounds as it moves. When the obscuring curtain of sounds recedes, the grinding bass and looped industrial clank that sits at the heart of the piece can be heard, churning in unison beneath shifting clouds of feedback.
Until The Body Runs Dry functions as an interlude, wherein a sound like a dentist-drill on metal is introduced to a roughened static loop like the chugging of a generator. Oddly subtle and strangely compelling, it hoves into earshot out of nowhere, building slowly over four minutes or so, threatening to become more visceral and painful but actually receding before it can do so.
The First Cure also slowly unfurls, initially shimmering into being like a heat haze before slow female vocals start to drone in unison with the unearthly cycling hum and far off percussive thuds signal the coming of something monstrous. That monstrousness is more furious black metal, heralded by the crack of a drum roll, as swarming guitar rips across the haze and echoing inarticulate shrieks rend the contemplative drone, ripping everything to shreds. There is a colossal booming undertow to this track that grabs the ear viciously and will not let go, holding the attention in place as the air shreds around the listener. Such an assault cannot maintain and the fury eventually tails off, its trailing feedback morphing into a field recording of running water, roughened by a thin, crystalline droning hum and the sounds of the air against the microphone.
Finally, First Night After Death pitches us slowly into the abyss of auditory hallucinations. Virulently fizzing static hisses and arcs through the air, whilst the middle ground is occupied by a beautifully desolate piano motif accompanied by restrained drumming. The effect is kaleidoscopic as the brain attempts to concentrate on both the subtle beauty and the rough horror at once, the two opposing textures vying for superiority within the field of hearing and creating a disturbing, queasy, see-sawing effect that continues until the horror ups the levels and introduces malevolent chugging and strumming guitars. The drums then amplify in intesnsity in response. Not knowing where to direct attention the brain collapses in on itself. This is clearly the desired effect and, spent, the track then rumbles, fizzes and hisses away into nothing.
Occupying similar territory to that staked out by fellow psychonauts Locrian, Gog bring an odd serenity to these desolate vistas that boil with shrieking venom, passing through darkness as though it doesn’t even touch the hem of Bjella’s obsidian cloak.
Gog sound as big as the universe, but we can still make out the indivdual cogs within the immense machinery that powers the engine of destruction, and Gog itself as a delirious reverie, a blackened fever-dream that rips the body to the edge of cataclysm before sharply turning away, leaving the scabbling feet of the dreamer hanging in the void for an uncomfortable period of time. The thrill is visceral.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson