Band: Gold Spire
Title: Gold Spire
Label: Chaos Records
Release Date: 5 November 2021
Format Reviewed: Digital Download
If memory serves Mike Patton once said of ISIS that they were one (at the time) current band that gets him hard. Well, without wishing to be vulgar, I might say the same of Gold Spire because their self-titled debut sure gets my juices flowing. Ok, I really made that worse than it needed to be.
Gold Spire (the album) is the coming together of several years’ work and performers with plenty of shared musical experience between. Led by brother Påhl and Erik Sundström, on guitar and drums respectively, this album takes the listener on a noirish voyage of beauty and darkness, blending all the elements together into a record that flows like waves on a dark ocean. And we absolutely have to talk about that saxophone!
Brief, instrumental opener Day Dawns Dark elegantly lays out the musical landscape piece by piece, with smoky sax, piano, and then guitar and bass, like a sunset. Like Ben, from the movie Blue Velvet, this is so fucking suave. Though brief, what is clear from these opening two minutes is how gorgeous all the instrumentation and playing is. Whether it’s the standout saxophone performance, the flute, piano, and vocals that come in and out as supporting leads and the guitars, bass, and drums that all provide the rich and firm underpinning of the whole musical journey.
Production wise, the whole album is a delight. Every instrument fills its own space, you feel all the textures, whether it’s the fluid sax, the growled vocals from Heval Bozarslan, or that rich, warm bass. I really couldn’t have picked a better time to buy a new speaker. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve listened to this album on cheap headphones, walking through streetlight illuminated midnight streets of Düsseldorf (a perfect backdrop) as well as at home (on a speaker that cost me more than I care to think about) and the album sounds fantastic either way.
Highlights? Indeed there are many. On Headless Snake a huge, crashing wave of broiling guitars and rolling drums, with a mid-tempo, offbeat death metal groove, underpins a back and forth between the vocals and saxophone, with a, glistening two and fro guitar arpeggio that’s a little reminiscent of King Crimson. While several tracks, such as the opener, Gloria and album closer The Wayfinder are fully instrumental, there are no incidental tracks here, with everything flowing together and the saxophone really being the lead voice on the album; Husk of God, for instance, has such an irresistible melodic hook. Maybe even a little Pink Floyd in the saxophone melodies there. In amongst all the beauty, there are the crashing waves too and Skull Choirs brilliantly incorporates the sax into some of the album’s heaviest passages.
There’s so much more I could pick out from individual tracks throughout this album, but what I can’t overemphasise is that this does deserve to be listened to from start to finish. Everything is so thoughtfully blended from track to track, feeling more like one long musical piece. Death metal vocals are definitely not for everyone, here though, they feel like their inclusion serves a musical purpose, adding to the drama of some of the album’s heaviest passages, and contrasting to great effect with the saxophone.
I’ve been fortunate to come across a number of great albums this year. I probably haven’t listened to any of them more than this one. A fitting soundtrack to your day, from dawn to the darkest night. Atmospheric in the best way, emotive, beautiful, lush and powerful. A gem. 9/10 Tom Boatman
9/10 Epic Storm
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre**