GOLGOTHA is a doom metal band formed in Spain in 1992 by Vicente Payá. Remembering The Past, Writing The Future is the first new release since 2019’s Erasing the future EP. It is the first new album since the addition of Samuel Morales (ex-HELEVORN) on guitar. Morales joins vocalist Amón López, fellow guitarist Payá, bassist Andrew Spinosa and drummer Tomeu Crespí.
The album in my view can loosely be described as ROTTING CHRIST meets atmospheric doom. The band are quick to state this in the first song Don’t Waste Your Life. Each swell and musical adornment is perfectly placed. Each vocal drone feels more like a traditionally spiritual thing than more than anything that appears in music that is typically meant for entertainment. I would describe the pace and the feel as lazy, but that does not sit right. Lazy implies that the beat falls when it falls with a degree of sloppiness, and yet… Laboured too does not fit. The precision here is not a feeling of hard work, although it might be one that encourages perseverance. Instead it straddles the void between intent and accident. It feels alive, and so close to death. Strong but fragile in it the sense that one small mistake could fundamentally weaken the effect it has.
The first track is the only new material on this release; the following four have all been re-recorded from their earlier works.
Helpless begins with a feeling of embarking on an epic adventure before the wave of sound breaks upon you and the music current pulls you down, deeper and deeper into the depths. Despite this it feels almost hopeful, even aspirational. The lead guitar soars in such a way to provide a glimmer of light and ultimately contrast to the oceans of negativity below. It keeps you buoyant but only just enough.
Compared to the previous version on 2018’s Arise EP, the newer version is much richer with seemingly more attention paid to the delicate balance of effects. Whilst still soulful, the vocals now have a feeling of strength as opposed to a feeling of meekness and uncertainty. Both certainly fit but they shape the song very differently. This newer version is more inline with MY DYING BRIDE than SAMOTHRACE, but that in my opinion is not a bad continuum to exist in at all. In fact I would say for me this is exactly where it needs to be.
Sometimes a review writes itself. Each track conjuring a specific mental image that concretes that art as something brilliant, beautiful, sorrowful and whole. This is one of those. Despite GOLGOTHA being around since the early 90’s, I’d not encountered them before and now I feel immensely disappointed that I was so close to discovering this and I didn’t.
This was a joy to listen to and discover, there was not a moment that I wasn’t nodding my head or tapping my foot. I’ll definitely be advertising them to anyone that will listen, and likely quite a few who won’t. In my opinion, this band has reached what it should be and whilst experimentation is good, they probably shouldn’t stray too far from this piece of greatness.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Remembering The Past, Writing The Future is out now.
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