GNOSIS "Omens From the Dead Realm"
By Dr. Abner Mality
This is my second encounter with Florida's GNOSIS and they remain as unique as ever. Variously described as both death and black metal, this trio isn't firmly lodged in either camp and have their own sound. If we didn't need another subgenre like a hole in the head, I'd call what they do "mystical metal".
Very few, if any, American bands seem to draw inspiration from classic Greek black metal like VARATHRON and NECROMANTIA, but GNOSIS is one. This is not a speedy or thrashing band in any sense, although there are some slight points where they hit the gas. Rather, they are obsessed with catchy mid-paced riffing that has a very "dark" feel. Synths pop up now and then to add a layer of atmosphere and on the track "Transcendence II", they eschew metal altogether for a mystic, Middle Eastern sounding ambience. Vocals are a growly grumble that is death metallish but actually pretty understandable. The band continue their obsession with philosophical concepts and "opening the third eye".
It's not head-smashing or instant, but I really appreciate what GNOSIS are trying to do. Tracks like "Typhiotic Visions", "Apzu, Sea of Death" and the title track have a more hypnotic kind of heaviness that draws you slowly in. And although the term is becoming grossly overused, yes, I do get a very "Lovecraftian" feel from GNOSIS' music. Lovers of dark and heavy music need to put this band on the "must listen" list.