Caressing Heaviness
An interview with Gomorrah
by: Adrian Bromley
Much like the ways of life where growth is a much needed necessity, England quintet Gomorrah felt it was necessary to grow in many ways with their music: as musicians and as a band. The band's latest LP _Caress the Grotesque_, the follow-up to 1994's debut album _Reflections of Inanimate Matter_, has the definite qualities of a band that has seen change. The riffs are heavier at times on _CtG_ but now the band concentrates on making their music more stable and moodier instead of just reckless hatred and anger being spewed outward. Having been together since just before the release of 1991's well-received demo _Embryonic Stages_ , the band has managed to keep the same line-up and the same objectives: to create music they feel best represents the band. Chronicles of Chaos recently had the opportunity to talk to guitarist Jose Griffin about the band, their five years together, and the state of metal. The band is rounded out by singer Sven Olafson, guitarist Mike Prior, drummer Fran Robinson, and bassist John Clark.

CoC: How have things being going for the band this time around as opposed to the last release?

Jose Griffin: Things have been going really well. Black Mark have done a lot better job with this one than the last record in terms of setting stuff up like interviews and all.

CoC: How do you think _CtG_ differs from what you had done with the last release?

JG: I think we have progressed on this one which I suppose every band should do with every release. I think we are a lot more focused this time. Every band's first record is everything they have written from day one. It is like the "Best of... my first years" where the second album material is written for the record. We locked ourselves up in our own studio, which is a luxury, and we became more focused and worked a lot harder on it. I think the difference is that we have opened ourselves to a lot more avenues, which I think is very obvious. I think we worked hard on vocals and that shows and I think basically is that we have opened ourselves up to a lot more. We discovered more avenues to experiment with.

CoC: Did you just want to do different things with this record?

JG: I think it is something that may have happened a bit more freely on the first one had we been more wiser to it. It has been natural for us to do this and something we have mucked around with, but I think early on we might have shied away from it. We might have come up with riffs and decided it didn't work for what we wanted to do. But now we say "Fuck it!" - If we like it we record it. It has always been a challenge for us to throw in a riff that we might not have normally done. As I see it is a matter of us opening up our mind and what we want to do and just do it more freely as opposed to throwing away stuff. We just look at what we create and see if we can work with it. If we enjoy it, that is all that matters.

CoC: A lot of bands in the last few years have shifted their sound slightly to either appeal to certain fans or to just go with the times or to just even be seen as unique. Gomorrah hasn't done that. What do you think sets Gomorrah apart from other bands?

JG: I don't know if we offer anything unique or original. That is very hard to do these days and be original. I think what we do is that we offer quite a range of metal. Three fifths of the band has been listening to metal since the early 80s and I think we have influences in our music from 1980 right up to the present day. We have sixteen years of great music and a great stew of all these great bands within our music. I don't think you can nail us down and say we sound like so and so. I think maybe you could have done that with _RoIM_ because we were so unfairly pigeonholed as a death metal band. I think we offered some great twin guitar riffs but maybe Sven's vocals kept us in that mode. I think this album offers quite a good variety of stuff now and Sven's vocals have changed too which has helped us.

CoC: How have you changed over the last few years as a musician?

JG: A lot like the records we do. A lot more focused and I think we are happy to be doing what we are doing. I think we are happy being where we have been able to get with our music. It is hard to describe. As a unit we have had a unique experience of having the same members five years down the road. We have become tighter too as a band. We have the same goals as a unit. I think the whole growth for us all has been as a band and not as individuals. Our lives have all blended into the band now.

CoC: With the music on _CtG_, has songwriting been easier?

JG: I think it has. Like the first record being a "Best of...," this time we worked hard as a unit and we took the time to create all this music. The bulk of this material, as opposed to what we had done earlier on, was all written as a unit. All five of us working on the lyrics, the songs, the music, and it allowed all the five minds to come together and create what we wanted to make our music take shape into. I think it was easier this time because the ideas had all these walls to bounce off right away as opposed to sitting in your bedroom writing music by yourself.

CoC: Most artists have a hard time coming up with a description of their release. Do you? How would you describe this record in regards to sound or style?

JG: It depends if it is someone who knows the band or not. I would have to say that it is definitely a metal record. I think it expands all types of music from 1980-1996. I think we offer variety and I think you will experience the different moods of the record from listening to it and reading the lyrics. I think it is a worth a listen from track one to track ten. This is a metal record with lots of sounds. I would tell anyone to just check it out.

(article submitted 2/1/1997)


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