EP Review: GEVURAH Sulphur Soul
In 2016, Montreal, Quebec’s Gevurah unleashed their debut album Hallelujah!, a corrosive dose of black metal that was as orthodox as it was meditative. The record was hugely ambitious and deserved attention and patience, even if you aren’t into black metal. It’s a record I still listen to regularly two years later. And in an age where music saturation is persistent, that speaks a lot to the masterful compositions that A.L. (bass, guitars) and X.T. (vocals, drums, guitars) wove together. Now, two years later, the duo is back with an EP entitled Sulphur Soul.
If Hallelujah! was a full ritual, then Sulphur Soul is like Cliff Notes. It contains aspects of Gevurah that show why they’re great but shouldn’t be considered a full experience. Sulphur Soul is still quite immersive though. The EP kicks off with the massive “The Putrid Stench of Rotting Flesh”, and immediately it feels like the band is at home with their sound. Massive and howling; their riffs and drums sound like the gates of Hell are blasting open.
Sulphur Soul extends over four tracks as an “inquiry on the four elements of the spirit.” The lyric booklet contains a Bible verse to go with each track (Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Ezekiel, Isaiah). Each track has an element as a building block—or basis of rising beyond the physical plane and into something more spiritual. It’s the most interesting aspect of the album. The lyrics follow one into the other, moving from earth to water to fire to air—at least, that’s what I got out of it. It’s something worth delving into; don't just take my words for it.
The sound of Sulphur Soul is less experimental or atmospheric than their full-length. It’s straight-laced black metal that is sometimes blasting and sometimes slower, but overall largely mid-tempo. They change things up at times and explore melodic aspects, but the duo never strays too far from black metal. It still feels meditative at times, but it’s simply no-frills black metal.
When all is said and done, Sulphur Soul is a good EP and a good introduction to Gevurah’s sound if you missed out on them previously. If Hallelujah! simply felt like it was too much of a chore, or too inaccessible, someone might be able to get their bearings here. Regardless, Sulphur Soul is straightforward black metal done right. Hopefully, there will be more of Gevurah sooner rather than later.