Sunday, 7 September 2014

Gehenna - Funeral Embrace 7"

It took a wee while for me to get this record, but I finally have some brand new Gehenna in my hands! And it was definitely worth the wait, it has been round my turntable many times already and it really just destroys anything else out there.
To me it is really quite a change in direction for the band. The split with Blind to Faith back in 2010 saw Gehenna start down a path of psychoactive inspired tracks that have progressively gotten heavier and slower over the years. The split with Integrity 2 years ago brought us Amphetamine Psychosis which literally took us through a meth trip, and The Truth (released as part of a mixtape) was the band's most so slow that it almost hurt. An incredibly limited lathe cut 7" was released last year that did hint at a change from this direction. But this new 7" has cemented that change with what is quite possibly the fastest and thrashiest set of recordings ever released by Gehenna.
Amphetamine Psychosis starts out the record, but sounds entirely different from the Integ split. The vocals sound in less psychological torment, but severely more vicious instead. The distinctive riff from the end of that track is again featured, but only lasts ~15 seconds, rather than 2 minutes. It is then straight into "Into the Grave". This track is wickedly fast and features the same vicious vocal set, accompanied by a quick guitar solo in the middle.
After about a second break, we are launched back into "Serve the Cult". This starts with the most blistering guitar solo and doesn't stop for a single breath the entire time.
The aforementioned lathe cut then lends a track, which has now been re-branded as Savage II. Here the blasting drums don't stop the assault on your ear drums, and the vocals have been distorted in a way that perfectly encapsulates the track title.
Things then finish off with "Funeral Embrace", which once again doesn't hold back in the slightest either.
The whole thing gets you so full of energy that the only thing to do is to put it on again (and again, and again).
After Rot in Hell's Ruined Empire, this is the second release of the revived Dark Empire label, now run by Dwid's son. Several versions of this were released; a clear and black striped, a yellow, a green and a black. All of the fancy coloured versions were out of 100 copies, and the black/clear combo came with an additional poster. Mine is just the standard black version, which came from the HT store rather than Dark Empire.
The packaging is just as wicked as the tracks on the vinyl. Right at the top is the cover artwork, which is looks incredibly raw and vicious. When that is opened up we have the lyrics to all the songs, definitely a good read. Quite surprisingly for a Gehenna record, the vinyl itself has centre labels and some matrix etchings. Usually we are just dealt a very basic record with no trimmings.

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