This is the second album from Ggu:ll, a blackened doom band from the Netherlands.
Featuring ex-members of Dodecahedron, Ex Est contains 45 minutes of music that’s sharp, bleak, and harsh. With the promo blurb stating that Ex Est is for fans of Mizmor, Bell Witch, Lord Mantis, Bongripper, and Funeral Mist, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Let’s dive in…
Ggu:ll’s music combines blackened doom, cold post-metal, shaded sludge, and sparse drone into tracks that form harsh and unforgiving landscapes.
Ex Est is a portrayal of mournful, despondent emotions. The darkness of the music is due to more than just the malignant black metal influences that have corrupted the crushing doom framework into a nightmarescape of ruin, but also down to the pitch-black feelings of loss and hopelessness that power the music.
The band adopt a mood-based approach to songwriting and the music rewards this with atmospheric soundscapes that immerse and absorb. The songs are largely slow and moody, gradually building and ebbing with negative energies that seem to seethe and churn just below the surface, out of sight.
The emphasis on atmosphere doesn’t prevent the band from having an aggressive aspect, however. Ggu:ll are not above introducing lashings of intensity around the solid slabs of granite that they call riffs, and the vocals carry enough venom and lethal intent to satisfy any fan of poisonous black metal. Ex Est delivers a broad enough portrait of terror and grim darkness to hold your attention as the band take you down into the bowels of their bleak, despairing underworld.
In addition to the bands mentioned by the promo blurb I’d also reference acts such as Cult of Luna, Body Void, Zatokrev, Primitive Man, Downfall of Gaia, and Abstracter. Basically, if you like these bands, you’re likely to enjoy Ggu:ll. Ex Est is expressive, atmospheric, apocalyptic, and emotively heavy.
Very highly recommended.