I think I was excited for Ghoulgotha before even hearing the record. First of all, this US death/doom act has one of the coolest names which evokes both hilarity and elaborate imagery. Secondly, their debut is supported by the very venerable Dark Descent Records. Thirdly, The Deathmass Cloak sounds like an artifact in Magic the Gathering. This record has to be absolutely terrible for me not to like it. I am glad my expectations were met with style.
Ghoulgatha’s debut has been born out of a sea of both obscurity and less than stellar reviews of the band’s demos, splits and EPs. While the band has always worshiped at the shrine of old school death metal, The Deathmass Cloak is less derivative of traditions than previous releases. While the riffs are unmistakably in reverence to an older era of death metal, the structure and presentation of these elements are wrapped in a blanket and set rolling down a steep hill. From the looming riffs which hang high on the horizon to the frantic yet controlled blasts of percussion, Ghoulgotha manages to make everything interesting once again with a record that is is full of danger and surprises.
The Deathmass Cloak is wonderful because it retains an atmosphere of fun despite being entirely devoted to darkness and destruction. An illustrated cover depicting the physical manifestation of the band’s name will take the music in a certain direction. This is a death metal record which is both enjoyable and fulfilling in its promise to bring riffs and attitude. Ghoulgatha has grown in leaps and bounds over the few short years and once again offers escape by way of the place of skulls.