UK doom trio Godthrymm bleed misery, abject sorrow into dark, smothering debut ‘Reflections’

Photo by Frank Ralph

Doom often feels like a cold, dreary autumn day where your clothes get soaked and stick to you, and it feels like your bones are shattering within your skin. So, it’s a little alarming when you take on a band or record from that subgenre and get a totally different vibe from it, one that feels like things still are pretty damp but occur in a totally different time of year.

UK doom trio Godthrymm definitely don’t come off as dudes who bask in the spring winds and probably prefer the dankness of the dark final months of the year. That’s why it was so strange for me when on one of my many visits with “Reflections,” the band’s debut record, that it kept making me think of the stormy days of spring when it’s warm and foggy, rich foliage dripping with the aftermath of the downpour. Strangely, I’ve been listening a lot during the soaking days of what’s been a weirdly mild winter, so the vibe was kind of the same as what I was imagining. Their music is like a dark spirit creeping over the horizon, coming toward you with hellish intent that actually freezes your insides. On this eight-track, nearly 55-minute record, the band—vocalist/guitarist Hamish Glencross (formerly of My Dying Bride, Vallenfyre, Solstice), bassist Sasquatch Bob, drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels (formerly of Anathema and My Dying Bride)—delivers heavy, darkly melodic, and menacing doom that adds pressure to your heads and chest.

“Monsters Lurk Herein” opens the record on an elegant note, as the riffs arrive and darken, and the skies show signs of storms. Glencross’ vocals begin to soar as a female voices joins up with him, increasing the fog. The track kicks into higher gear, and the metallic playing has a Euro folk spine while Glencross wails, “Hollow sorrow, I feel no more,” as the track fades. “Among the Exalted” has guitars flooding as Glencross calls, “I crave your embrace,” as he faces the void. Leads surge over the chorus before the music goes cold, trickling before catching fire again. The track pounds again as the vocals punish, leading toward tornadic hell. “The Sea as My Grave” reeks of classic doom when it gets going as the frigid air thickens, and steady punches are thrown. The tempo swings back and forth, tricking your guts as Glencross howls, “Oceanic, rest in peace.” The song chugs anew from there, overwhelming before the track is ground to dust. “We Are the Dead” opens with cymbal crashes and burly guitars, joined up by forceful singing. “The hangman waits patiently,” Glencross warns as the temperature switches violently, with a searing solo bringing an end to the track.

“The Light of You” punches out of the bag with scraping verses and the earth quaking, while Glencross pushes his voice into a higher register. The music gets muddy as hell again as the tempo shifts hard, punishing with a fury before the track melts away. “The Grand Reclamation” awakens slowly before the guitars emerge, and vocals echo over the verses. The bass takes control and tunnels through, with the song taking on an Electric Wizard vibe. Echoes shouts as Glencross calls, “Hail the cleansing of this diseased world,” as the track clobbers and turns you dizzy. “Cursed Are the Many” is the longest track, clocking in at 9:18, and the opening is a slow burn that takes a while to get settled. Once it does, the verses weigh down heavily as Glencross howls, “Blessed are the few,” on the back end of the chorus. Female vocals swirl again in the background as the track is swept into eerie darkness. “Chasmic Sorrows” closes the door on the record by lurching through misery before unfolding into the dirt. The track is gut-wrenchingly melancholic in spots as sadness hangs in the air, hovering through this instrumental track that bleeds out into mystery.

No matter the season or the weather, Godthrymm will leave you cold and shivering in strange state of disrepair on “Reflections,” a despairingly dark debut. Their playing is ominous and unforgiving yet also alluringly creative in a way that is both physically and mentally devastating. This is a band with many years under their belts and hearts that have grown cold, and they’re pouring all of that into their music that makes doom metal even more overwhelming.

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