GORAM showcase their brand of progesssive stoner doom on new EP
Metal is one of those genres that never really goes out of fashion. This is partly because it’s never really in fashion. I don’t mean any offence here, so please don’t be offended my metal family, but due to the nature of the genre, heavy riffs, shouty vocals, soul crushing drums, it’s never really going to break into the mainstream and top the charts (Bring Me the Horizon have come closest to that honour with their last two albums hitting the peaks of # two and three in the album chart). Part of metals appeals is that its main elements can’t really be changed, so the genre hasn’t really moved on since its blueprint was worked out in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Saying that one band that seem pretty happy to play around with the genre are Bristol’s GORAM. Taking the conventions of the doom/stoner genres and adding elements of progressive metal, plus some deep guttural screams, they have crafted a debut EP, Ashes, that is as rewarding and inventive as it is hard and heavy. On a first listen it might seem impenetrable due to the dense compositions and raspy hinterland vocals, but you’d be mistaken. Give it another listen and focus on the guitars, especially the lead.
Opening track ˈkarɪən they start off in the classic ‘metal’ mould, but about a quarter they start to soften and these massive hooks and melodies open up and there is your opening. It basically says “We’re loud, heavy and will run rampant through your head, but we also love classic rock and don’t these riffs remind you of anyone? Yes we like them too!” Second ˈmɑːsk wastes even less time before they start to show off their chops. From the opening salvo it’s just riff, after riff, after riff, after riff, before we are beaten into submission and awe! This pretty much carries on for the rest of the EP. Closing track ˈæʃɪz kicks off with the dirtiest bass riffs on the EP, until peels of feedback, and finally and maelstrom of sludge metal majesty envelopes us. Just when you expect everything to go up a notch it doesn’t and some slivery guitars slice some space in the claustrophobic soundscape. This gives you enough time to prepare for the next barrage of metal brutality.
At times GORAM sound like Mastodon going through a classic rock/metal phase, massive rhythm section and some of the best riffs you’ve ever heard. But the real kicker is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, of the riffs. This helps cement the song into your head and psyche. This is a fantastic EP that not only show masses of promise for the future, but also plenty of subtle, and un-subtle, nods to the genre’s past.