Symphonic death metal shouldn’t work, and mostly doesn’t. Elegy is different, however.
Imagine Orphaned Land if they were powered by death metal; this is my simplistic, overall summary for this review. Throw in a few other references to bands such as Septic Flesh, Arallu, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Bleeding Gods, and Nile, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’ll find on Elegy. Honestly though, Orphaned Land-gone-death-metal sums this up pretty well.
I want to make it clear, however, that I mean none of the above in any form of negative way; Elegy has its own character and personality, and the above references simply allow you to sample the album’s flavour. To really see what Gorgon are capable of, however, you need to give them a listen. It’s very worth it.
The problem with symphonic death metal most of the time is, well, the symphonic side. It’s frequently just a cheesy extravagance that comes off as a bolted on extra without any real value. Not so here. I’m pleased to say that Gorgon know how to meld brutally aggressive death metal with Eastern-influenced atmosphere. There’s plenty of the latter, but it never seems to detract from the former, only enhance it. This is a rare achievement in itself.
As this is primarily a death metal band the main vocals are viciously deep growls, and they sound really damn good. Realising that an album of this ambition requires that something extra, however, they have employed the services of guest singer Safa Heraghi to add her impressive voice to every song. Her performance is frequently both understated and powerful, and the band’s songwriting and arrangements use her to her full potential.
One of the reasons I like this album so much is that it really shouldn’t work. Most of the time symphonic death metal is just awful, and usually ends up diluting the power of death metal without adding any real value. As I said at the start though, Elegy is different. On this album Gorgon sound focused, potent, powerful, and brutally majestic.
You really should give this one a listen.