Gnosis – The Third Eye Gate (2015)

Florida’s Gnosis are such a well-structured death metal act that it doesn’t even matter if they really believe in the stuff they’re channeling here. Obviously “gnosis” refers to a state in which a person is completely one with the universe and can create a template of sorts from there. The Third Eye Gate seems symbolic of that, since the third eye is technically the gate by which one enters a state of gnosis and obviously the album cover art is a representation of that. But silly occult lessons aside, the record as a whole comes with a much darker sound that while overly technical, is also quite demonic in nature. It just feels and seems evil with death riffs that not only imbue despair, but also a malformed sense of prog, which makes the performance at times feel like a big black void of destruction. The vocals are definitely rough as well, giving the listener a worthy and memorable growl that sounds like it’s coming from a man who is really passionate about his display. Nothing feels phoned in and The Third Eye Gate sounds like it’s coming from a band that are completely committed to making artistic death metal that goes in line with the ideas conveyed within the piece. That definitely gives it a sense of atmosphere, but it’s not so much atmosphere that you’ll be taken away from the death metal as a whole.

The Third Eye Gate is definitely a death metal album and those blazing drums fills will let you know that right off the bat. You’re getting death metal, but you’re not getting an approach that you’ve heard several times before (unless you like heavily textured performances which are exactly what you’ll find here). In some places it even feels a bit mixed in with black metal, but that doesn’t really come as a surprise even though I can’t honestly say I’ve heard even so much as one tremolo riff during the entire performance. The disc doesn’t depart too much from what is textured or heavily structured death metal compositions, despite that there is a little bit of keyboard usage from time to time, most noticeably at the end of “Cult Of The Great Serpent” (3:37) and certainly within the album’s intro and it’s closing piece (which is also the title cut). I should also mention that said title cut is one of the most interesting atmospheres I’ve heard all year, with The Great Old Ones trills making it the icing on the cake. With a lot of records, you just sort of skip the intros/outros, but this one actually fucking meant something to me and I’d highly recommend giving it a listen. It is also worth noting that said piece is nearly three minutes in length, so they obviously meant it to be taken as a serious piece and not a simple “ending credits” as it were. However you spin it, The Third Eye Gate is a tremendously solid slab of intelligent death metal, and I’m sure that only greater things will come from these guys in the future.

(10 Tracks, 36:00)

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