Peter Thelen    24-Feb-2001 Gomorrha vs. Khan

(Musea FGBG 4316.AR, 1999, CD)

Not for the squeamish. This Japanese five-piece offers a powerful rock sound driven completely over the top, mixed with a strong degree of atmospheric spaciness. Well, maybe not so mixed - this band, like the title of their album, has a definite split personality. The hard-edged material that jumps out at the listener on the first spin could almost be classified as zeuhl-metal with a middle-eastern twist, while the other side of the band that reveals itself on subsequent listens has a distinct early Floydian influence, circa Saucerful. The modal themes and middle-eastern flavors are the glue that links the two extremes. Instrumentation varies, but typically relies on bass, drums, saxes, keyboards, and guitars as the primary medium, with aggressive and incomprehensible vocals, hence some comparison to Ruins may be in order, but only on a very superficial level for the most hard-edged numbers. Tracks like "Celtic Song" dispel any such notions, pulling in a strong psych influence comparable to bands like Ghost, but even that can be misleading. "Gomorrha" comes closest to De Futura-era Magma, the throbbing bass and heavy drum attack that speeds up as they go, which links directly into "Alien," another zeuhl-metal monster. The overall result can be brutal and manic, or warm and soothing, and with repeated listens the many dense layers of sound reveal themselves, like peeling an onion, and the connections between the two extremes become more apparent. For anyone into Magma and the zeuhl sound, or any of the heavier Japanese bands like Happy Family or Bondage Fruit, this one is essential. My highest recommendation.

(Originally published in Exposť #19, p. 52)

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