Gomorrah – The Haruspex

Upon the rocks climbed the penitent seeking the best path to cleansing. His fingers bled as he neared the top of the precipice, briefly glancing at the sun, the light obscuring the path which he climbed below. Under his feet and around seemed nothing more than a bright, white nothingness. Turning his face again to the top he pulled his aching body to the jagged edge of the cliff, and, with a short struggle, eased his weakened body to the top, looking at the surroundings as they consumed the world around as the minor thing it really was. Mere steps before him was The Haruspex, an onyx mask covering her face and her arms blackened with charcoal from her elbows to her fingers, growing blacker until reaching her nails, which seemed more birdlike than human. "Tell me what's coming, where should I go?" he struggled to speak, prostrating himself before her. He felt the light touch of her blackened nails on his chin and raised his head. Guiding his body, she laid him upon a flattened rock at the top of the cliffs, and as night fell he watched the stars form while her nails made a single, flawless slice into his torso. Reaching in a hand, she removed his entrails, and the steam of his inner heat swept like smoke around her body as she read the future in his blood. "Here you shall die, the coming of Gomorrah is upon us, the old era of death metal is no more," she said.

Gomorrah, the one I'm speaking of here, is the only Gomorrah. There have been others, and there are others that still exist, but only one Gomorrah is the Gomorrahest, and this is they. Coming from Canada, they seem to have been largely ignored until the release of this, their newest. If not the case, apologies for my simplistic perception, but if the case, apologies for not being one of the few who knew of you prior. But I believe myself forgiven with this review. The Haruspex captures the essence of death metal, but it's modern approach is what keeps it alive, instead of struggling, and in many ways it looks to the future where all should have their eyes.

 

Gomorrah is cold in their approach; it's technical, complex, and almost inhuman in quality, yet without a mechanical presence. Thus, organic but demigod. They are the liminal bridge between this world and the next, utilizing classic death metal while reaching to the pantheon for power. The Haruspex utilizes some incredibly complex arrangements; there's essentially something new to catch with each listen, something like a prophecy that only makes sense after the fact. Details become clear when the events themselves are actually experienced, and even then you still have much to comprehend. As such, it's listenable for much longer than usual modern death metal, in fact more than probably 99% of recent promos I've received. The only possible complaint, seeing as how I consider the whole package as art, is that Gomorrah has taken a rather untapped theme for this release, but other than the cover, album title, and a few in-song references, it's largely under-used. You have a reference to Veritas, for example, but then a mentioning of Carcosa, a fictional city that has nothing to do with old Roman mythology or divination. Like a haruspex, the vocalist is responsible for the image, he is the shaper, the former. It is he who digs through the organs of the sheep to see what has yet to be. Without this, the music itself can lack a purpose. Not to say it does here entirely, but the imagery provoked by the cover makes me wish the lyrical direction was more purposeful. Still, Gomorrah have proven a lot, rarely do I even listen to modern death metal for more than a few moments, and The Haruspex absolutely kills. It's like if Ulcerate didn't suck and wasn't overrated it would be this.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Gomorrah: The Haruspex
Test Your Metal Records
4.4 / 5