Review: Göden ‘Beyond Darkness’

Göden is the brand-new project from Stephen Flam, leader of death-doom legends Winter (named after an Amebix track) who existed briefly in the later 80’s/early 90’s and released one classic record Into Darkness before breaking up.  Flam then went onto lead the band Thorn in the mid 90’s for a brief period before reforming Winter around 2010 for some tours, the most notable being Roadburn in 2011.

Göden 'Beyond Darkness'

According to the band’s promo notes, Göden are the ‘spiritual successor’ to Winter and the artwork, as well as the album title, prove this statement to be apt. The cover art was designed by Slovene artist Eva Petric who is based in Vienna and New York and is of a shadowy figure created in the Rorschach style. The band are made up of Stephen Flam (guitar), Vas Kallas on vocals and Tony Pinnisi on keyboards (Tony was a touring member of Winter).

Beyond Darkness consists of a mammoth 19 tracks and starts with Glowing Red Sun which combines spooky atmospherics and crushing doom. The perfect start. We are then hit with the first of many interludes Manifestation I: Tolling Death Bells, before leading to the Celtic Frost influenced, Twilight, the style reminiscent of that band’s 2006 album Monotheist, more specifically the track Ground, summoning up the general sense of hopelessness.

Next is Manifestation II: A New Order, another interlude in which Kallas states he is Göden. Cosmic Blood continues the Frost vibe, albeit with a 90s Death Metal influence ala Autopsy. Manifestation III: The Spawn of Malevolence follows before we hit Komm Susser Tod (German for Come, Sweet Death), a keyboard led piece that although doomy has a definite melodic quality to it. This leads to Genesis Rise reminding me of a more metallic Amebix.

Beyond Darkness consists of a mammoth 19 tracks and starts with Glowing Red Sun which combines spooky atmospherics and crushing doom. The perfect start…

So far so good, or so I thought. Dark Nebula, a grinding piece didn’t really engage with me. I Am Immortal, another track in the vein of Dark Nebula maintains the same kind of pace (as well as also being over 7 minutes long) and while it does a good enough job of summoning up a feeling of dread, it also outstays its welcome. Manifestation VI: The Beginning And The End passes and we are hit with Ego Eimie Gy or ‘I am Gy’ as it is translated from Ancient Greek. This track maintains the slow pace with some hushed vocals layered over the top, at the very least its shorter than the two proceeding numbers. Manifestation VII: Gaia Rejuvenated and then straight into Night and by now I’m starting to tire of the oppressive pace and the growled Tom G Warrior Triptykon era vocals.

Manifestation VIII: A New Age comes and goes, and we reach the final two numbers on the record. Thundering Silence is an instrumental of various noises, which to be honest, provide a refreshing break from the relentless trudge of the music. Finally, Winter concludes the album on a more positive note with an up-tempo riff that caught my ear from the outset, an excellent track.

Beyond Darkness is an interesting concept piece and I applaud Stephen Flam’s ambition, but I found the album as a whole exhausting. The interludes distracted me away from the flow of the music and while I enjoyed the first few numbers, by track eight I was starting to tire of the decidedly monotonous pace. This is an album that frustrates more than it delights; I feel that if it was considerably shorter at 7 tracks (ala Winter’s In Darkness) I probably wouldn’t have found it as much of a chore to listen to.

Label: Svart Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills