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Gouffre – Demo III [Demo]

gouffre – demo iii [demo]


After two great demo tapes released in 2019 and 2021 and the 2022-released split 7” EP with their compatriots of Phlegethon’s Majesty the band returned to the front with a new demo tape in the fall of 2023. While both first demos have very much in common, both sound wise and based on the thoroughly Norwegian character of the music, this newest feat is quite a clear departure from the previously released material.

The first two demos has a lot in common with very Armagedda and subsequently had a distinct Gorgoroth echo to the sound. The main difference between those two sessions was mostly found in the rawness of the recordings. But on ‘Demo III’  the band sounds almost like a completely different band.

The raw edge is still very much present throughout the full 20-minute playing time, but clearly it has been reduced to mainly the guitar sound alone. But that is not where the most evident departure from the band’s starting point is to be found. It is that violent and riff-driven Armagedda vibe that is completely vanished. In return Gouffre treats us to a more primitive sort of Black Metal that leans slightly in the direction of the classic Ildjarnian sort of sound. Yet, while it has the same sort of punky vibe, it lacks the folk-tinged core. Some haunting but raw melodies are woven into the music in order to add some necessary dynamics. In addition to the grand shift in the band’s musical direction ‘Demo III’ features the vocals of drummer Decombre whose voice is completely different from Sidney ‘Tsotha’ Schmitz (Eole Noire, Nartvind, Hertogenwald etc.). Decombre’s vocals are more shouted and has a distinctly angry and amusical nature, not too far removed from Nebiros of Ofermod and Malign fame.

Although ‘Demo III’ is a more than decent new demo, I am afraid that the magic of the band got washed away with the departure of vocalist Schmitz and with the band’s musical U-turn. Based on the previous recordings I definitely regarded Gouffre as being one of the most promising bands from that captivating Belgian Black Metal scene, with ‘Demo III’ I am afraid I am not able to repeat that statement.