Greg Northrup    21-August-2002 I Turned to See Whose Voice It Was

Gomorrha was a potentially fantastic German group that played in an early 70s hard rock/proto-prog style that was similar to the types of contemporary experimental Krautrock being played in Germany at the time. Gomorrha had a decidedly more Anglo-American element than did other guitar freak-out bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Guru Guru. Not only were the lyrics in English, but the group had a more distinct hard rock style, like a more psychedelic Black Sabbath with an eccentric and frenzied Robert Plant on vocals. The main instruments are organ and guitar, which make for some fantastically volcanic moments, as in the titanic opening riff. There is also, oddly enough, something of an American soul or blues influence that often rears its head throughout, especially in the vocals. The band's essential elements make for a pretty incredible mixture of German noise rock and embryonic British heavy metal. Unfortunately the good parts aren't really pulled off for the duration of the album, and are watered down by some poor meandering sections and wordy narratives delivered for the sake of the album concept.

The album seems to be a Biblical concept album involving the Apocalypse of St. John. Incidentally, this album tends to fall into the same sort of traps as Aphrodite's Child's 666, another concept album relating the Apocalyptic saga. "Opening of the Sealed Book" definitely sounds like it could have been on that album, basically a simple guitar riff droning on behind an excessive relation of endless Biblical imagery. The opener, "Dance on a Volcano," starts out awesome, with a heavy organ/guitar riff blazing beneath the aforementioned Plant-style vocals. Unfortunately, the song loses itself midway through with some random acoustic guitar diddling. "Dead Life" is one of the better tracks, a heavier song playing towards the group's strengths, and keeping the experimental portions somewhat interesting. The album picks up big time towards the end with "I Try to Change This World" and "Tititsh Child," which features some intense guitar solos, heavy riffs and cool vocals, as well as some great organ playing on the latter. It would have been great if the whole album sounded like this.

Overall, mileage may vary on this album, and I guess it depends mostly on how much tolerance one has for the charming naiveti of a concept album that's not entirely cohesive or pulled off well. It can certainly be excusable for such an early album from an apparently young band, especially coming out of the already noisy and experimental German scene. For me, it's somewhat tiresome, but definitely has a cool, obscure early 70s vibe that makes it worth having.

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