Review: GOTT ‘To Hell To Zion’ EP

As is the case with all things in life, sometimes, something will fall through the cracks or pass us by, while we are living so hectically. Maybe it’s a piece of news or forgetting an appointment. At times, we are all guilty of these life mishaps. For me, it’s forgetting a birthday, or double booking myself with something, and having to then decide which thing to miss out on.

GOTT 'To Hell To Zion' EP

I’m never usually out when it comes to music, I would like to believe I have my finger quite tightly on the musical pulse, but even I, sometimes, drop the ball. With that in mind, I would like to quickly raise a hand and admit I’m only just catching up to the Dutch six-piece GOTT.

Admittedly, GOTT are so new, and elusive, that their back catalogue only has a couple of EPs, and it’s the newest one of these that I’m jumping on reviewing today.

To Hell To Zion is the second release for the band, and even though it was unleashed a few months back on digital platforms, it has only recently gotten a vinyl release. That’s how underground this Tilburg based sextet are, they are a thing of myth really, an enigma, a band you should know, but will struggle to find.

GOTT is made up of members from other more established bands, including Ggu:ll, Molasses, Radar Men From The Moon, and The Devils Blood, to name a few, and were due to make their live debut at Roadburn 2022, but due to illness, they sadly had to cancel, maybe next year?

The EP itself is four glorious tracks, including a truly wonderful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain and is just over twenty-three minutes of A class European doom rock of the finest calibre.

Opening with The Colour Empty, and a pensive introduction, it is intercepted by a dual vocal, which runs us through the piece. As it changes gear, it drops into a very iconic European anthemic rock sound. That being said, when it lifts, it’s also a very different beast altogether. At its height, it truly reaches up to the heavens. It’s intense, yet glorious, and the instrumentation is a revelation.

twenty-three minutes of A class European doom rock of the finest calibre…

Track two, Venus In Mirage, is a darker, more menacing number. Farida Lemouchi’s clear vocal certainly does carry the piece, with a passionate performance. The accompanying soundtrack is as accomplished as it is precise, and again, it has an anthemic feel to it.

Peyote’s Dance further solidifies the bands mastery of all things doom, with a majestic display of musicianship. Somewhat a hybrid of doom and prog, with a generous splattering of ethereal vocals, it has an enthralling theatrical feel to it all. As this track dies off, it makes way for the real talking point of the EP, and that is the cover.

To take a track as iconic as Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain and make the bold move to cover it is either an incredibly brave move, or musical suicide.

In all my years of listening to heavy music, there aren’t many cover versions which have come along and been as sublime as the original. There’s probably a handful which actually do justice to the original, but the theme seems to split into either a straight copy or a reimagining of the original completely.

What GOTT have done is taken the original, and ever so slightly reworked it, without losing any of its original charm. I’m not a fan of Fleetwood Mac personally, I know two or three songs, at most. For me, this track is iconic, as in the UK it used to get used on the titles for the Formula 1 Championship on the BBC, and the wonderful second half of the track has been forever forged into my brain because of it. If you don’t recognise it, it’s the bass rumble that starts midway through. You may think you don’t recognise it, but you will.

What GOTT have done is update the original track, without losing any of its charm, and cleaned up the second half, without forfeiting any of its pace or drive.

It finishes the EP perfectly, and stamps home the thought that if this is the shape of things to come from the band, then GOTT are going to be something really monumental in the years to come, so keep an eye, and an ear, open for them.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish