Gourd, as a project, consists of two shadowy individuals and have been active for some time now.
The name conjures up the shamanic and ritualistic – and that’s not far from where they go with this, their first EP.
Containing agents from other loathsome groupings such as On Pain of Death and Wreck of the Hesperus, the group present four songs here that slowly percolate through doom, drone and general ambient uneasiness.
Mass Of Sounds
Beginning with a hiss and the slow march of drumbeats, we’re soon sucked into a mass of sounds that have very clearly been worked into a smooth and certain pulse, if one that’s truly terminal in style and speed.
An array of atmospheric virulence is slowly released over ‘That Despicable Thing, the Human Heart’, an opener that very much sets the tone for the record. Slow vocal intonations, a shifting morass of sound – it genuinely sounds off-putting.
There is a brief moment when a discernible guitar riff collides with drumming on this track and it totally kills –but things quickly dissolve into base elements again. It’s an indicator of this organism’s multi-limbed potential.
There is some particularly tasty drumming that lies at the heart of Gourd’s sound. A relentless beat on ‘Gaunt’, underlying a biblical sample concerning the destruction of Christ’s body, is especially harmful.
A sample from David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ also works nicely alongside the droning malevolence. It should be stated that there is a persistence sense of unease about the entire EP. It has a layered sound without being overwhelming, with every second genuinely sounding dark, without getting repetitive.
It’s also nice to see a band go for a nice physical release on their first effort. Paul McCarroll’s design and presentation here is simple but effective – with the cover image being appropriately unsettling.
Gourd get it right by choosing measures of dread and drone that are just right. There’s a warm, almost analogue basis to the sound and samples that gives it a real ‘found footage’ sort of atmosphere.
Indeed, while a sharper mix might result in the band increasing their impact and drawing more blood, the warm sound of this EP works quite nicely in its own way. The howling, crackling warmth of the noise slowly mauls the listener over its 35 odd minutes.
It will be interesting to see where the band go next. While they’ve nailed the textures and tone on this release, it still has the slightly amorphous sense of a record that is largely the sum of its parts. Something with a more clearly signposted concept might be just what they need.
A sip from this vessel both inebriates and decimates. It’s a pleasingly well-crafted slab of noise, then.
-Lorcan Archer ::: 10/10/16