Album Review: Golgothan Remains – Adorned In Ruin

Album Review: Golgothan Remains - Adorned In Ruin
Reviewed by Sam Jones

From the minute I first laid eyes on this record, I knew I had to check it out. That album ended up being Golgothan Remain’s sophomore album titled Adorned In Ruin; the first release the band have give us in four years. Formed in 2015 out of New South Wales, Australia the band got their first Demo out of the gate pretty quickly before eventually following that up with their debut studio album: Perverse Offerings To The Void. That first album of theirs garnered many positive reviews and so, I can imagine that many longer-term fans are already excite by the prospects of the band’s second album. Four years can be a while to wait for a new record however when you’re a hotly anticipated new band who are gathering attention quickly, that wait can feel nightmarish. But I was deeply excited by what Golgothan Remains might have in store for me following a few teasing listens here and there. So, without further ado here is Adorned In Ruin.

The production on show here is something much more raw than other death metal works I’ve heard lately, such as the latest Venom Prison for example. One of the bigger death metal albums to be released this year is going to have something that’s a little more polished than what Golgothan Remains has for us; herein the band utilise a production standard that’s deliberately muddied. It sounds the way it feels, dirty and macabre. But what’s great is that it doesn’t showcase a muddied production for its own sake, the mixing has allowed the vocal and instrumental elements to really pop out and stand on their own without the band needing to hone in on them specifically. The album certainly sports a darker tone, but it hasn’t given them the excuse to give their songwriting a dulled and opaque sound. As evil as this sounds, we always know what is going on.

I feel something needs to be said for the varying vocal deliveries on this album. I say deliveries because there is a very clear difference in the kind of vocal performances this album sports. For the most part the band utilise a very gruff and deep growl that is nicely prominent and doesn’t feel to be drowned out by the muddied production at all which is good to hear. It’s evident the band worked to ensure this vocal performance wasn’t overpowered by the mixing, but it’s interesting the other vocal deliveries are given their due and are equally given attention such as the higher, crying performance that definitely lends a harsher timbre to the record. But then you may also get this howling style that doesn’t emit any syllables and is there purely for atmospheric purposes. It’s a genuinely unexpected form of vocal power and it aids the band at separating themselves, pretty early on in the album’s runtime, from a slew of other death metal acts.

Album Review: Golgothan Remains – Adorned In Ruin

The riff direction really reminds me of early 90s death metal whereby it’s not merely streams of notes across a familiar chord all the time; the riffs here have this malignant, dancing rhythm to them as if they are forever moving from one place to another with some dark transitions that bridge those gaps in riffs. The guitar work doesn’t feel like it’s been downtuned as much as it feels dulled; sometimes it may be seen as a derogatory aspect but due to the album’s production it actually works out pretty well for us. The riffs possess this rumbling, thunderous power that oddly enables the guitar work to come across as more pronounced than they usually might in other contemporary death metal works. The riffs themselves are fast and they waste no time in getting things underway however there’s an explicit sense of control going on here too, we feel like the band forever have control on what is going on and where they are taking you. You’ve forever got full trust in the band’s songwriting not simply because it’s good quality but because of their ability to instil this notion of confidence in their capacity for competent craftsmanship.

That thunderous aesthetic is also carried over to the drums as well which manage to impart a great deal of power to an already powerful sounding record. I think the album is helped by the fact that the bass is quite strong here; it’s not in the vein of the bass guitar itself as it is more so within the mix. As a result, the bass drumming has this particularly present thud that’s able to exert great swathes of might to us without needing the drums to be that far forward within the mix for their presence to be noted. Granted the drums are delivering blast beats one on top of the other, but it isn’t like the record is getting overpowered by a tide of blast beats. The drums are always at your attention but just enough that they allow the rest of the vocal and instrumental work to shine.

In conclusion, if you’re after an album that’s really going for that darker underside of death metal in the vein of Immolation or Suffocation then Golgothan Remains might be a band for you to consider. The band definitely went for a murkier and less definable form of death metal aesthetic that doesn’t necessarily purport outright evil as it does that more miasmic form of darkness that can’t be immediately identified. If anything, it’s this more left field approach to death metal that makes Golgothan Remains the unique power they are. They’ve got that drawing power that I think is going to work wonders for them, their atmosphere is completely enveloping so once you’re inside the record, that’s it, you’re immersed from beginning to end. It doesn’t last for all that long but for its runtime it does precisely what you’d like it to do. For myself, I’m going to keep an eye on Golgothan Remains.

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