Album Review – Gothic / Demons (2017)

One of the most respected bands in the history of Romanian metal powerfully unleashes their “demons” upon mankind with their heavy and melodic new album.

Rating4

gothic-demonsEstablished back in 1992 by guitarist and singer Alin Petrut in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, Romania, Melodic Death Metal band Gothic has quickly become one of the most respected metal bands in the country, having played alongside giants like Manowar, Dimmu Borgir, Europe, Korpiklaani, Gojira and Napalm Death, among many others. Even after changing the band’s name to Ali(e)n and then to Innerfire in 2003 when Alin re-located the band to Belgium, the band kept building a strong reputation among metalheads all over Europe, returning to their hometown Petrosani in 2005 again under the name Gothic (as a separate entity from the still-active Innerfire) and culminating with their participation in the 2012 edition of Wacken Open Air after winning the Romanian finals of Wacken Metal Battle that year.

Exactly 25 years after the band’s inception, Alin and his Gothic are back with Demons, their first full-length album since their 2013 release Expect the Worst. Displaying a darkly beautiful artwork by the band’s own bassist Csaba “Taly” Talpai, and featuring for the first time George Lazar on harsh vocals and Vlad Golgotiu on drums, Demons is definitely Gothic’s most professional and multilayered album to date, blending the classic sonority from the band’s extensive career together with fresh new elements from modern metal music. After listening to this cohesive and melodic album, it won’t be hard for you to understand why Gothic play such an important part in the history of Romanian metal.

In the opening track Shadow Man you’ll quickly notice their musicality is not really “Gothic” as the band’s name states, but fast, melodic and aggressive music, a great mix of traditional Death Metal with contemporary Melodic Death Metal where Alin delivers some sick, heavy riffs while George blasts pure fury through his guttural growls; followed by the excellent Disillusion, also exhibiting a similar Heavy/Death Metal hybrid vibe. This song presents a good headbanging pace with neck-breaking riffs by Alin, getting symphonic and futuristic at times due to the spot-on keyboards by Florian Lysy, not to mention its vengeful lyrics (“We grew apart / Betrayed our hearts / Our souls are black / Our minds are flack / You wanted that / Now take it back in your face”).

gothicIn the first single of the album, the title-track Demons, Alin, Taly and Vlad add a lot of groove and heaviness to the musicality, setting the stage for George to growl even deeper, feeling like a mix of Hard Rock with Gothic, Doom and Melodic Death Metal ideal for the song’s lyrics (“I feel their breath inside my dream / The darkness stains around me / A web of black, surrounding scent / The night is growing senseless.”). In Catacombs, which starts in a pleasant, harmonious and exciting way with Taly blasting a thunderous sound from his bass guitar, we face a magnificent balance between the havoc generated by all band members and the extremely melodic guitar solos and keyboards, whereas in Time, an upbeat composition by Alin and his henchmen, Vlad delivers precision and anger through his beats, and despite losing a bit of its electricity in the end it’s still a very enjoyable song.

Destroying the Masses, a powerful chant where Gothic displays their darkest side, brings forward a menacing atmosphere and deep guttural vocals closer to old school Death Metal, while modernity comes from the metallic riffs by Alin. And it seems the band really wants to crush our necks with their sick riffs and beats in From Within, with elements from traditional Heavy Metal added to its Melodic Death Metal sonority to make it even more harmonious. Last but not least we have A New End, a melancholic and passionate composition sung entirely in Romanian (which in my opinion is an interesting variation from the rest of the album) and featuring guest vocalist Klaus Pardos, offering the listener the heaviest version of modern Hard Rock you can think of.

Are you ready to face the heavy music engendered by these talented Romanian demons? If your answer is yes, you can follow all things Gothic at their official Facebook page and check their latest videos (including some fun tour diaries) at their YouTube channel, as well as purchase Demons at Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webstore. Gothic are unleashing their high-end Melodic Death Metal upon mankind with their brand new album, and if I were you I wouldn’t miss this great opportunity to get in touch with the music by such respected underground band.

Best moments of the album: Disillusion, Catacombs and Destroying the Masses.

Worst moments of the album: Time.

Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music

Track listing
1. Shadow Man 5:01
2. Disillusion 5:42
3. Demons 3:53
4. Catacombs 6:04
5. Time 4:55
6. Destroying the Masses 4:34
7. From Within 4:04
8. A New End (feat. Klaus Pardos) 5:13

Band members
Alin Petrut – guitar, clean vocals
George Lazar – harsh vocals
Csaba “Taly” Talpai – bass
Vlad Golgotiu – drums

Guest musician
Florian Lysy – keyboards
Klaus Pardos – vocals on “A New End”