Finns Gorephilia have been caving in skulls for quite a while now, amusingly naming themselves Goretexx at their inception. Now, eleven years into their career they unleash their second full-length outburst, Severed Monolith, and rather a good job they’ve made of it too.
Like most death metal, Severed Monolith will be utterly inscrutable to outsiders, and that’s probably just how the band like it. To the cognoscenti however, there will be much to chew on in the forty minute duration that they’ll find both tasty and nutritious.
Apart from two brief segue, Words That Solve Problems and the delicate neoclassicism of Eternity, Severed Monolith is the aural equivalent of a severe kicking at the hands of a gang of unreasoning, drunk psychopaths. Whilst the band have the good grace to limit most of these frenzied bouts of brutality to no more than four or five minutes in duration, final track Crushed Under the Weight of God – and was there ever such a suitable title for a song? – stretches the agony out to over ten horrific minutes.
These words I’m using are not pejorative however; this is death metal we’re talking about, and quite frankly it’s a Miltonian terrible beauty that Gorephilia construct with this album. A hint of Morbid Angel here, a whiff of Obituary there, some doom-filled Autopsy elsewhere, this is sublime pain in musical form for the discerning metalhead. And if Crushed… is the Opus Horribilis of Severed Monolith, then there’s precious little light relief anywhere else on the album. If oppression could be construed as an artform, then the oxygen-robbing, chest-bursting extremity of Black Horns would be it’s musical manifestation. Quite horrible, yes, but also strangely compelling and utterly irresistible.
Five years in the making, Gorephilia’s second album might not be hailed as a modern masterpiece by the masses who slaver after this sort of thing, but to these ears Severed Monolith comes pretty damn close to being just that. Disgustingly good stuff.
Severed Monolith is out now on Dark Descent Records