Review: Gorazde ‘Verses’

Gorazde are a Washington DC outfit and consists mainly of Jeremy Moore who does all the music, lyrics and handles the vocals/guitars/drums. He’s joined here by ongoing Saccharine Underground collaborators Lisa Zing (bass/synth) and Eva Nilo (piano/samples). Verses is the final part of the 777 Series and is the fourth release in what has been a very prolific year for Gorazde, following on from the Mask Of Teeth EP and Eyes In The Gloaming and Anacrusis albums. As a fan of death rock ala Christian Death and Samhain, Diko Nursyahr‘s artwork reminded of those groups and was part of the reason why I decided to review this release.

Gorazde 'Verses'

According to the promo notes this is a conceptual album about the universal equilibrium at the core of every living thing and it is made up of thirteen tracks. Simulacrum opens the album with a sound that incorporates dark ambience with death rock a little in the vein of Christian Death’s Ashes. It’s an atmospheric gem of an opener. Bloodland reminds one a little of vintage Sunn O))) at the time of Black One, there is a grim lo-fi black metal feel, and I’m reminded of Attila Csihar’s disturbing coffin effect vocals from that album. Inhumation at just under two minutes is the shortest track on Verses and starts ominously with church bells while adopting elements of Burial Chamber Trio’s bleak and terrifying ambient drone.

Husk is interesting, the loops and guitar laden effects intonating a My Bloody Valentine shoegaze influence, especially with the psychedelic ethereal tone, evoking a certain intrinsic beauty. In amongst the murky drone noise of Falconer, is Eva’s delicately played piano that adds a certainly fragility to the music. Think Nils Frahmn jamming with Sunn O))) and you should get the picture. Counterglow sees Jeremy adopting a Glenn Danzig croon with some excellent doom laden death rock drumming surrounded by a wonderfully cacophonous wall of noise. If Danzig had wanted to experiment around the time of 1996s Blackaciddevil then this is the type of sound he should have aimed for.

If Danzig had wanted to experiment around the time of 1996s Blackaciddevil then this is the type of sound he should have aimed for…

Tender Love at a mere two minutes is something of an interlude, deeply distorted vocals and noise make for an unnecessary but not unpleasant listen. Replevin features once again Eva’s beautifully played piano with added samples, reminding me a little of some of the lighter moments from Nine Inch Nails The Fragile. The Golden Hour adopts a more conventional song structure, the noise levels minimised, resulting in a decent latter era Swans track. Some of the surf guitar playing present reminded me of John Zorn’s The Dreamers project.

Mask Of Teeth mixes spooky atmospherics and ‘catchy’ guitar melodies to surprising affect while Residue Theory effectively combines dark ambience, shoegaze and Lisa’s Synths. Chyme On The Cross reminds me again of Christian Death, the depressing nature of the music is accompanied by melodramatic vocals that would have been right at home on their The Wind Kissed Pictures and Atrocities releases. Even the track’s title reminds me of something Valor would have come up with, considering his fervent Anti-Christian belief system. Finally, concluding track Disfigured Horizons has industrial sounds melding well with the death rock drone soundscapes.

Drone is a genre I tend to struggle with at times, some of it has the tendency to be self-indulgent and boring, however this certainly wasn’t a sentiment I felt when listening to Verses. The death rock influences via Jeremy’s excellent drumming and Danzig/Valor Kand/Michael Gira’s styled vocals helped to elevate the music to a whole other level, making for what was on the whole an original and captivating listen.

Label: Saccharine Underground
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills