Review: Gog – S/T

Gog - ST“Stories of transformation are often painful primal and agonizing. The body rapidly twisting and contorting into some strange beast or monster is traditionally the tale told. Transformation at its best is invisible, stories of people evolving into something better or degenerating into something worse. Evolution, life and death, could be considered in this process of change when the transformation is played out over millions of years, centuries and decades. This album is a story of transformation.”

Perhaps I don’t pay this enough thought. The fact that transformation must involve the forceful rupture of original form; bones breaking and forming hideous curves, skin stretching and splintering, blood forcing out from within new follicles of feral hair. This record brings these considerations to light through pressure and muscle exertion; the sound of instruments (piano, drums, white noise amplifier wastage) being bent back against their natural mechanism, forming crests of climax to sprout up from within the plain of happening, like a volcano forcing its way up through the mantle. The record is a disturbance, an excitation. The music rises up in fire and violence, permeating the membrane of stasis and initiation an uneven – and deafeningly loud – exchange of force.

Yet there is method too, and the sound surges up in recurrent, distinct waves. Drums sway forward and back over a pivot of metronomic ride cymbal, while low hammer-blows of piano (played as percussion, as if tonality is a mere by-product) catch the rhythm like an infection, spreading the mutation between instruments. Noise runs through the gaps like an anarchic wind: a purr of distorted bass frequency like lava flow felt under foot, or a thick gale flecked with sand and dry debris, flecking my torso with dirt. Feedback whistles through the gaps in bloating fingers. At one point during “The First Cure”, melody wafts upward when the movement stops – a voice that paints the contorted body in sunlight, while drones cut the sky with horizontal nimbus strips. It’s a temporary glimmer of stillness, caught before the virus surges into a ferocious double-time of blastbeats and screams, forcefully announcing the parting of flesh. The mutation is never complete.