Thirsting for knowledge and understanding helps us get closer to the subject matter sitting in front of us or eating away at our psyches. You get those things now and again that gnaw at you and that you want to keep digging at despite how futile your effort might be. Sometimes you just have to settle for what you can gather.
Fitting and funny that the very thing I described has haunted my introspection into Florida death/black metal beasts Gnosis. Yeah, they have some online presence, though it keeps you at arm’s length, and even the information contained in their bio only tells you enough to know what you’re hearing, and that’s about it. Hell, they don’t even have a profile at Metal Archives so we can peruse the members’ other metallic activities. So instead, we must rely on the music contained on their debut album “The Third-Eye Gate,” released by renowned, revered underground label Nuclear War Now! Productions. The music itself was part of what wanted to help me learn more (other than my obsessive tendency to try to fill these pieces with as much info as possible) because this record doesn’t sound like your everyday death and/or black metal record. There’s a lot going on here, and it can be downright perplexing to handle in one sitting, though that is recommended.
The band’s members go by mere initials, with J.S. on vocals, A.F. on guitars, C.R.C. on bass and synth, and C.V. handling drums. Gnosis’ sound certainly comes from the catacombs of death’s origins, as there is nary a concern for sounding modern or polished, yet there is a creativity behind these songs that makes you realize they’re not just going for a bludgeoning. They’re here to dizzy and haunt you, nearly drown you before yanking you to the surface, and leave you guessing as to what weird turn they’ll take next. It is brutal, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just as stunning from an artistic standpoint. Get ready for a really involved, demanding listen.
We begin with the sound of water dripping, almost as if you’re lowering yourself into a dank, humid basement, and then you’re met with “Primaeval Light” that is lathered in strong lead guitar work, raw growls and howls, and some tricky playing that will make you take notice. There also is a rawness you can feel in the splattering drums, the sense of doom, and the primitive death that crushes you right up until the end. “The Plague of Azotus” starts with some speed and grim vocals that pull you head on into the chaos. There is a weird catchiness over the chorus that could get inside of you and that might come as a surprise. But that hook then returns you to morbid melodies, pained wails, and a final minute that pulverizes bones. “Temple of the Sea” starts off fast and sweltering, with guitars racing but also muddying the ground, the vocals sounding infernal and scorched, and the drums admirably keeping pace amid all of the storming going on around them. The final moments feel rather mystical at times, like a fog is rising up to pull you into the next realm, which contains “Chariot of the Sun-Moon.” There, a fury meets you at the gates, but eventually the band settles down into a groove, with the vocals sounding pained and evil. The band breaks out into a full-on assault, as they unload vicious thrashing and a break-neck tempo that really could agitate your muscles.
“Cult of the Great Serpent” is as dark and sooty as you might gather from its title, with strong riffs standing as the foundation and demonic growling piling up to add to the sense of fright. The melodies lurk like prowlers, while foggy keyboards emerge behind the density and add an element of classic horror. All along, J.S. calls on dark energies and sources to rise up and enact its will on the Earth. “Lotan’s Dwelling” has a prog-style opening, as the melodies noodle and splash about before the whole things submits to devastation. “The world will lie asunder!” is howled as razor-sharp soloing emerges and creaky but catchy vocal melodies cause a whirlwind of power. “Apzu Tiamatu” begins aggressively and with a nice burst of speed, tearing into raw vocals, drums that tap heavily, and cataclysmic darkness delivered on the strength of the guitar work. Up next is “Gnosis” making them the latest metal band to have a song that’s the same as the band name. It’s a scorcher, too, as the music has a bit of a punk feel to it, the growls are as gruff as anywhere else on the record, eerie strangeness arrives later like a storm cloud, and the final moments get nasty and mess with your mind. The closing title is almost like an outro, with the keys leading the way into the murk, beastly vocals sneaking behind, and an overall morose sense spilling over, leading you down a dark path from which you may never return.
OK, so we don’t know a damn thing about the shadows behind this project, but what does that matter? Gnosis’ style is enough to enlighten us to what they’re about from a musical standpoint, and “The Third-Eye Gate” is an awakening of an experience that announces this band’s arrival and gives the world another fresh monster that remembers what made death and black metal so crucial in the first place. This band will help you understand metal in a way many people have forgotten over the years, a way that will help open us your senses.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/gnosis.fl
To buy the album, go here: http://nwnprod.com/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.nwnprod.com/