Among Gods – Malstrøm

     AG

     Giving a potent sizeable teaser of their impending second album Monument, Norwegian death metallers Among Gods have just released Malstrøm , the first single from the new full-length. It is a great groaning slab of captivating metal which sparks intrigue and imagination for the upcoming PRC Music released album. It is admittedly not an explosive encounter, not a force to bring knees to the floor and senses to heel, but with a stalking predation and inventive sonic weave the song certainly leaves an appetite for the bigger narrative to come.

     Hailing from Bergen, the band started as a solo side-project for vocalist Ripper (Syrach) in 2010. The following year saw Among Gods expand to a quintet with the addition of guitarists Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (Syrach) on guitars, bassist Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas), and drummer Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma). Working on and recorded their self-titled debut album across the rest of the year its well-received unleashing was followed with a vinyl release in late 2012. Reducing to the threesome of Ripper, Broke, and Ivan thereafter, Among Gods returned to the studio last year to begin bringing Monument to life, its emergence scheduled for May this year.

    The entrance of the single, like its overall presence, is restrained and steady but soaked in a rapacious intensity and atmosphere among_gods_logo_lowwhich intimidates and invites full focus. A rhythmic coaxing starts it off before the guitar winds a sonic lace of sound around the senses.  It is instantly engaging bait soon joined by the burly coarse vocals of Ripper, his tones initially overwhelming the enjoyment already bred by the emerging sounds but eventfully falling into intrusive place. The prime groove which flirts with the imagination is a delicious lure and the strongest potency within the song but with Broke’s guitar craft and the ever badgering rhythms of Ivan taunting and teasing the imagination, the track is an imposing, dramatic, and malevolently engrossing proposition.

     The one concern rising from the song is the production, which maybe can just be put down to the digital copy received here, its touch meandering in quality across the length of the track with certain moments soaked in up front clarity and others, like the vocals, seeming like they are drifting in a distant landscape. If the song is a demo cut, than all is good and anticipation for the album is ripe but if that aspect is the final glaze than a little uncertainty raises questions ahead of Monument. Nevertheless Malstrøm is a strongly satisfying and fascinating encounter helping spark a definite appetite for Among God’s sophomore album.

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7.5/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Among Gods – Self Titled

AMONG_GODS_PICTURE

Previously available as a digital release last year, the self-titled debut album from Norwegian extreme metallers Among Gods now has its physical release through PRC Music. It is an album which though the Bergen based band is tagged as death metal, employs numerous intense elements of the likes of black and doom metal to their core intent. Offering a wealth of promise from the band ahead equal to if not exceeding the strong satisfaction it provides in its pleasing presence, the album is a noteworthy investigation for genre fans and the band to keep an eye upon.

Formed in early 2011 by Syrach vocalist Ken “Ripper” Olsen as a side project, the band upon the album consists of guitarists Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (Syrach), bassist Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas), and drummer Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma).  The rest of the year saw the band playing live and recording their debut album which had its initial release as mentioned last year. Since its arrival the band has reduced to a trio of Ripper, Broke, and Ivan, and is currently working on the follow-up release for a possible late summer unveiling.

Opener Crucifixion immediately gnaws on the senses with a tirade of tight ravenous riffs whilst the squalling growls of Ripper scar among_gods_covertheir surface further with malevolent spite. He is not the easiest vocalist to find instant connection with but easily adds nastiness to the textures of the release which aids their destructive intent. With a rampant groove held in check within the corrosive riffs the track has an open hunger which is as potent as the driving swing of the track well into its stride. Like many of the songs it does not wholly convince the passions to react with fire but has a certain hook which is intermittently contagious but always making its presence known.

The following Martyr is a similarly clad confrontation but with its own individual stance within the release, if not necessarily to the outside world. With another grooved twisting to its annihilatory presence and a rabid growl to the bass which is irresistible, the track without matching its predecessor still hooks up thoughts and emotions into its maelstrom of death and black metal, the vocals at times especially adding a blackened caustic malevolence to the encounter.

      Night Procession opens up with commanding and resonating beats and equally compelling riffs whilst the bass again brings a throaty threat to devour eagerly before taking a stride of more reserved but raptorial gait, the again impressive grooves employed veining the savage breath of the onslaught for a tempering and magnetic lure. The vocals slip into place within the ear naturally at this point and in what is a less ferocious and more melodically sculpted track, brings a grizzled shade to its brighter energy.

The excellent blend of doom and classic metal cast within the death driven gait of The Plague makes for another standout track, the grooved swagger of the song nestling easily within the snarling walls and malice dripping vocal delivery. As is the norm across the release, the infectious grooves captivate and ignite the emotions whilst the shifting pace of the track from a keen swing to lumbering doomed consumption and closing thrash feverish urgency makes the track one of the more unpredictable and intriguing within the album.

The closing pair of City of the Dead and Apocalypse ensures the album ends on a high, emerging as the best tracks alongside the previously mentioned one. The first of the two is a slow breeding assault which erupts into another thrash cored rampage with death metal intensity. Shifting patterns to its charge and variation within its sonic craft, makes the song a richly satisfying violator and though it again is not breaking new grounds its hold on the passions is tight and lingering. The final song has no other intention than to control and savage the ear with salaciously tempting grooves and bludgeoning rhythmic sinews interspersed with carnal riffing and once more a heavily fibrous bass prowl. It is an excellent finish to the album and a last statement of the promise of Among Gods.

The release has flaws, mainly in originality and creating enough sparks to fire up the passions but equally there are moments which control the body and emotions for a heady enjoyment. Their next album will possibly be the better architect of their quality and future but on the evidence of this we will anticipate its release with eagerness.

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7.5/10

RingMaster 16/04/2013

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