Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 3/23/2004
Lesser Traveled Waters
posted on 7/2004 By:
Signed to Friends & Enemies Records, North Carolina's Gollum play an amalgamation of heavily groove-oriented riffs in combination with moderately spacey and progressive metal. With some incredibly sloppy drumming, unintelligible sampling, and inappropriate phasing keyboards, Lesser Traveled Waters doesn't exactly begin on the most positive note. It does tend to get better, particularly on the third track, "Cross-Pollenation". The keyboards remain and the riffs don't exactly tighten up, but the addition of strained growls and old-school death metal drumming actually help tremendously. Apparently, those vocals are handled by none other than Lamb of God's D. Randall Blythe. The one thing I'm so displeased about is the fact that I had to sit through two musical shitfests just to get to this point.
As soon as that ends, I'm greeted with a bite to the groin in the form of "Amor Fati", a track which proves that all you need to create a beautiful labyrinth of intertwined melodies is an acoustic guitar, a phaser, and somewhere to freebase crack-cocaine. Then there's a bit of Isis influence rearing its head in the form of another instrumental, "The Burden of Ubiquitous Scars", and pushing that influence further, the track "Reclamation" is rather interesting and shows some true promise within the band. "The Dissolution of Faith" reeks of Mastodon along with choir samples, poor keyboards, and a bit of tasteless drumwork. Even though the song has its setbacks, it's still surprisingly good.
Don't get too comfortable though, as by the time you get to "Tears for a Finite Moon (Dreams of Perpetual Night)", you might shit yourself out of hilarity. Starting out normal, it spontaneously breaks into black metal vocals layered over simplistic groovy guitarwork while you imagine the synth player from Kovenant stoned out of his mind, having the time of his life.
Mastered by Steve Austin (Today is the Day), production-wise, everything's the way it should be. The double bass sounds clicky and irritating - that's the main setback, other than a bit of the songwriting. It's hard to tell if it's unintentional or not, as occasionally the rhythm has sort of a tribal feel to them. Despite the inconsistency, it's good drumming, it's just unfortunate that it had to take on such a lousy sound.
No matter what the bio says, Gollum are basically an instrumental group. Sure, they have guest vocalists here and there, but 85% of it is instrumental. Through searching out reviews of Gollum on other websites, I gather that everyone believes this is some brilliant and visionary musical leap. It's not. It really isn't. Maybe their next release, though, really could be, as there's a lot of potential shown here. Despite my inexplicable urge to be overly cruel to this band, I have to admit that I can see Lesser Traveled Waters being enjoyed by a wide audience and might even recommend it.
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