The UK invented Doom Metal in the 70’s (Black Sabbath), kept the Doom Flag flying in the 90’s (Cathedral) and continue to lead the way in 2015 (Electric Wizard), so it’s no surprise that Bedfordshire based Gévaudan are making a name for themselves with their own brand of very Heavy Metal; we Brits love a bit of Doom N’ Gloom!
Not that Gévaudan can be accused of wallowing in misery, in fact the 3 songs contained on Message For The Damned are far removed from the funeral-pace and lumbering dirge often associated with the genre. Instead, Gévaudan’s debut EP is firmly encamped in the groove-laden territory of Stoner Rock’s uptempo vibe but consistent with Doom’s lyrical themes and morbid atmosphere.
“The Cursed Undead” opens the gates to Gévaudan’s eerie world of demons and decay as molten-hot riffs jostle with Adam Pirmohamed’s exemplary vocals; the man sings, he growls, he shouts, he had us checking if Gévaudan were blessed with more than one vocalist!
“Lament of the North” follows and respectfully borrows the central riff from Sabbath’s “Iron Man”. No mere copycats, Gévaudan are blatantly inspired by Sabbath’s blueprint, who isn’t, but utilise Tony Iommi’s pioneering sound to evoke nostalgia for bygone days while still sounding resolutely relevant in 2015.
All that remains is the title track, “Message For The Damned“, and here lies the undisputed highlight of the EP. Opening like a Kyuss inspired ‘Desert Session’ before unleashing pure riff fury and a pummelling groove which hits you square in the gut, Gévaudan’s furious mix of The Ethereal Mirror era Cathedral and Acid Bath’s sludgy take on Doom Metal results in a 9 min+ epic. Blasting through tempo changes and alternating between effective spoken-word vocals, banshee wails and growls summoned forth from Satan himself, “Message For The Damned” will blow Doom fans away; guaranteed.
Doom Metal, Traditional Heavy Metal, call it what you will; any fan of skull-crushing riffs and tunes which demand the most furious head-banging imaginable will bow down at Gévaudan’s altar.
As debut EP’s go, Message For The Damned promises much for the future.
The power of the almighty riff is strong with this one! 7/10