Album Review: GOREGÄNG Neon Graves
Chainsaw grinding death metal from India's best metal label, Transcending Obscurity? Yeah I want some of that. The magic doesn't stop there. Goregang actually feature current and former members of Wombbath, Soilwork and Venom Inc. With a pedigree like that, it's clear that this duo is tapped into something else entirely. Their debut full length, Neon Graves comes two years after their eponymous debut EP. In that time the band has grown by leaps and bounds. Unleashing so called 'new wave of old school death metal' in the vein of groups like Necrot and Outer Heaven, Neon Graves is a thrilling listen. It's the sort of death metal record that is unafraid to hint at its crust roots. Neon Graves embraces its own filth and forces you to choke on the madness that ensures. Politically aware and emotionally crushing, this is death metal from a band whose deep understanding of the aesthetic only serves to push them forward. In a crowded death metal scene, Goregang's oppressive guitars stand out.
Take a track like 'Feeble-minded Rash'. It fuses the bands trademark swagger and blinding heaviness with a punk edge. Lyrics like 'Put down your devices, enjoy the live scene' on, 'This Era Of Human' only reinforces the inherent thoughtfulness behind the band. Goregang also show a wonderful tendency for surprisingly big choruses and encourage shout-alongs. While this may be atypical for the genre in my eyes it adds to the magic of the band. It gives the group a sense of 'realness' that one might not find otherwise in this music. Neon Graves consequently winds up being addictive listening. There are twisted moments and odes to inner torment throughout. In this 'Silence Is Consent' is probably the standout, once more doubling down on the big choruses. Thing is, this is very much also a 'guitar record.' The title track, 'Neon Graves' shows some hard Carcass worship. It's so goddamn fun one would be hard pressed not to want more of it. Sometimes it's the self aware moments and the willingness to embrace the madness of the genre that will set a band apart. That certainly feels like the case here.
Death metal is a genre that is best at its most frenetic. It shines when you think the band is going to fall apart at the last moment. It's the insane moments that keep you on tenterhooks. It's the neverending appetite for destruction that keeps us coming back. Goregang understand this on a fundamental level. Neon Graves is an ode to death metal tropes, but that's what makes it great. The way they expand upon the tropes be it with politics or gang vocals separates them from the pack. There is seemingly no end to the circle pit inducing riffs on this record. Smashed in between worship of the death metal greats are hints at what the band can do next. Sure this is a group that features scene veterans, but it is still a promising debut. Goregang will make you snap your neck headbanging and leave you lusting for blood. If that's not enough out of a death metal record then I don't know what is.