I’m not sure exactly what is the deal with Gomek? The literature accompanying the CD sampler and the website don’t seem to clarify if they are a label or simply a site to promote bands for free. Whatever it may be, all of the music on the disc I received is available at their website for downloading for free! One warning though is that the productions vary in quality and while one band requires a heavy volume adjustment upwards, the next band may just blow your shit out!
BURNT SHADOWS starts of the CD with four songs of typical Metalcore fare. I would give singer Brandon the slightly positive nod in that he has a fuller rasp than the typical shout of most Metalcore front men. Musically the band provides little beyond the growing mountain of ‘Core acts that we all seem inundated with in CDs, demos and also on the very few television outlets for Metal. The track “Release The Dogs” does have a nice, slower paced intro with some thick chops one rarely finds on a Metalcore album. The final track on this packed CD from BURNT SHADOWS “7 Deadly” is a song not unlike a cut you would find on a HATEBREED album with the singer sounding eerily like Jamey Jasta.
Second on the Gomek Metal slab is THREAT SIGNAL, a rougher blended band who though still maintain a degree of Metalcore. What separates THREAT SIGNAL from BURNT SHADOWS is not so much that they have a far more Metallic vocalist but that they slip during the tracks into odd melodic singing that at times borders on an ethereal chorus backing up the growling. Riff wise THREAT SIGNAL has a lot in common during some songs with Swedish melodic bands like DARK TRANQUILLITY. However, they lack the cutting edge that a supreme band like DT harness in a near flawless manner. “Inane” then comes after such previous tracks with a straight forward Metalcore track with a deeper yet still screaming vocal track. THREAT SIGNAL show some promise for me, but too often delve into the ‘Core Avenue to be fully interested in what they have recorded so far. I may just keep an ear out for them.
GRONE are a mix of a different bag than the previous two acts. A hybrid of Death and Industrial, they can be both enticing and annoying within even the same minute. One part that doesn’t change throughout their songs is the droning growl of their vocalist. Having a very organic sound, he comes across as a growler you can easily trace to Cronos of VENOM. Omnipresent in the songs is a stamping percussion which maintains the Industrial sensibility of the GRONE experience; there certainly sounds like a lot of processed drumming on the tracks which keeps this feel going throughout. Sounds odd but there are maracas playing in a few of the songs, not something you hear everyday in a Metal release. I’m no Industrial fan but the power of it works quite a bit for GRONE. What their downfall is is the one note sound to the songs. I would be very hard pressed to distinguish their songs from one another. Now, what is at odds to what I just wrote is that their work on this compilation changes half way through. In fact, one wouldn’t be amiss in thinking the last four tracks from them are a different band. The quality of the production noticeably changes with “All That We Have Is Learned.” At this point GRONE become a slower, churning Death band with some very cool rhythms and more conventional metal riffs. It is a very strange change indeed and one that is welcome as I much prefer the grating of the last five tracks. It’s pretty good stuff.
With ANGERSTRIKE next in line the production takes a major dive. Their songs sound as if they don’t have all of the knobs turned up in the studio so to speak. This is a shame as while they again have some Metalcore in their songs, they also have a far greater propensity for Speed Metal. The production is so receded it is very difficult to judge how the songs would play if properly mixed. Modern Metal needs bass and that is what is sorely lacking in the production. The drumming is of the blazing, trigger happy kind bellowing at sensational paces. ANGERSTRIKE have a good future in the Death Metal scene with some adjustments to perhaps their screaming, but that is a path they may not take (I’m biased being a Deathhead) One serious peculiarity is that the original recording of “Blackened Sky” is of slightly better quality that what appears before it. It could be that the recording of the CDR I received just was poorly written.
With MALAKAI next, we get the first sense of Black Metal mixed into the Gomek compilation. Unfortunately that doesn’t last long and their use of a high pitched screamer along with a growl and some nice speedy scales gives way to a more conventional DM structure, not that that is bad in and of itself. However, it would have been a pleasant shift for the compilation to have had a different genre of Metal mixed in. MALAKAI change tempo nicely during tracks and this far into the CD have easily the most layered sound of the bands. “Chasing Demons” the second track and title track of their album, is a sound piece of Swedish style Thrash. Of course, just as I start to dig the band, they careen into Metalcore land and partially ruin what I thought would be a weightier act. Then, just as I’m ready to somewhat write them off, they smash back with “Convulsing”, a cracking venture into an intermingling of Death, Thrash and blast beating hell. Remove the odd Metalcore parts and MALAKAI are a band I’d be happy to listen to again.
Lastly on the assemblage is ALLERJEN, perhaps the most enjoyable act on the CD for me. What makes this so is something strange: the vocalist sounds more like a true Hardcore singer than his Metalcore counterparts and the music is slower than most of the rest of the music on this album and again that also for some reason harkens back to sensibilities of C.O.C., CRO-MAGS and SUICIDAL TENDANCIES. To be sure they are slower, but there is just a great awareness within the songs of those band’s more Metal infused works. The groove that appeared in the later stages of the true Punk-Metal fusion is here and very well done. An angry voice of substance, well performed riffs and percussion that fits the song and not the other way around make ALLERJEN a band that deserve some serious respect. (Online June 17, 2006)