29 Oct 2021 - Thorsten
Death-Doomjazz | Chaos Records | Release date: 05 Nov 2021
Candy Dulfer meets Bohren und der Club of Gore and during their fornication they are listening to Morbus Chron so that their spawn is caught in that triangle. Sweden’s latest metal sensation Gold Spire is that spawn of hellish proportions – hellish not because of its speed or sheer technicality but because the forefathers of this record seem to have found a way to create a new genre: Death-Doomjazz; and that doesn’t even come close to what the band brings to the table.
Rivers of Nihil and White Ward have been the two main go-to-bands when it comes to the combination of Jazz and extreme Metal / Death Metal and now Gold Spire is not just the third one, but a really imaginative one. The Americans as well as the Ukrainians give us a form of Death Metal enriched with Jazz parts, with both worlds following each other, but not too often really influencing each other. Gold Spire go about brewing their potions a little differently: they do not change Jazz and Death Metal parts separately but really use the saxophone as the basis for most songs and of equal rank within the band’s sonic hierarchy. After the demise of their former bands, brothers Erik and Påhl Sundström wanted to start something really different, changing the direction of their musical journey completely so they soon asked Jazz saxophonist Magnus Kjellstrand to join them as well as Prog-Rock bassist Petter Broman. When Heval Bozarslan (of Sarcasm-fame) completed the quintet, there was already a sense of foreboding, something big was to come from Gold Spire.
The self-titled debut is not in any way a regular dose of crossing over between genres. It is much more a real combination – in sociology, one would not be talking about a salad bowl but about a real melting pot; every blends into one big new entity and thereby losing its distinct singular features. This is progressive thinking metal music without borders, because often they walk astray and leave regular Death Metal grounds choosing more Post-Metal- and Doomjazz-adjacent territories to roam. Take the fourth track, ”Gloria”, a track with a wonderfully complex and yet at first glance simple beat, laying its ambient on top of the miraculously positive yet still melancholic saxophone harmony: Many bands would add a blastbeat-driven explosion somewhere within the song-structure, but Gold Spire know that the track is perfect as it is. This might be what The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation would sound like if their roots were in Death Metal or Progressive Metal and their sound was more on the Sweven-side (more Progressive Metal) than on the Tricky-side (more TripHop).
Nevertheless, the Swedes also show that they know how to push the pedal to the medal, for example in ”Skull Waters”, which follows the second Doomjazzy middle track ”Husk of God”. ”Skull Waters” is very well-produced so that the saxophone harmonies are always able to shine through the storm of guitars and drums. It becomes apparent that the saxophone never left the song, it’s always there and provides a lot of dark tonality, wonderful. That is something the band shares with Italy’s Messa who are also always on the lookout for new ways to enrich their sound with the help of the saxophone. On Gold Spire it is clear how well this instrument can be used for Progressive Death Metal with its rich, dark sound. When ”Skull Waters” reaches the five-minute-mark when Erik’s keyboards are providing the last bits of that floaty carpet and all of a sudden the vocals, the “blastbeasts” and the “guitar-nado” set in again and yet we often witness the saxophone underneath all the harshness in “black minor”.
The fact that the band more or less did everything themselves – recording, mastering, mixing, artwork, etc. - speaks for itself and for the band’s wish for creative control and craftsmanship. Not a lot of newcomers would be able to pull off this feat that the five have achieved with seeming ease. Even though a lot of praise has been heaped upon this newcomer in the last few paragraphs, but to show how good this record is: Instant Candidate for the top20-list for Album of The Year 2021!