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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Gotmoor – Zonderlingen

Label: Headbangers Records

Date: February 6th, 2021

It just failed to impress. Such a shame, as I got my hopes up from all the descriptions I’ve come across. But it just goes to show how much a proper advertisement influences a potential consumer. With this Belgian quartet, everything is done according to cannons. One can hardly call “Zonderlingen” a bad record. Musically, compositionally, production-wise or when it comes to product placement. But it simply failed to impress.

Perhaps I expected a much more bombastic music when reading how the band is influenced by the greats of bombastic black metal, classical music and movie soundtracks. Come to think of it, there are many black metal bands out there claiming to take from classical composers or cult cinematic hits. Not to mention Emperor, Satyricon, Immortal and their likes. Yet, my admiration for Belgian bands remains high, so Gotmoor had some pretty big shoes to fill in my book.

Okay, I can understand the obvious bonds Gotmoor didn’t want to break. When all is said and done, their intention to focus on pure black metal is non-debatable. The quartet didn’t want to go ahead and give too much room to the symphonic elements in their music. That’s fine and will delight the puritans among genre’s fandom.

On the other hand, the moments when the keyboards and Gregorian chants take their role to a higher level are likely the most interesting on “Zonderlingen”. Apart of those, majority of material offered on the album keeps to the black metal code. Not to say these are bland, unimaginative or otherwise poorly constructed, they are simply not top-class material. There’s more than enough energy within these tracks. With the production being top-notch, the record provides a necessary impact. Also, with the exquisite drumming and the lead guitar giving it all away, Gotmoor stands for an interesting listening session.

However, when the forty three minutes are up, there’s little to take away from it. A name to remember, for sure. Within the ever-present flood of black metal bands emerging in every corner of the globe, Gotmoor firmly stands its ground. Still, being in the top half of the table rarely means the championship title. Or even a good fight for it. In order to achieve that, the Belgians need more.

Keeping in mind that the members of the band are fairly busy with their other bands, Gotmoor, as a quite inactive side project is as good as side projects tend to get. I have a feeling that with higher priority in the musical careers this is the one that could achieve a much higher status. If that’s even what they are aiming for. So, let us wait and see if it takes them another sixteen years to come with the follow-up to “Zonderlingen”. I’m keeping my hopes up and fingers (inverted) crossed.