Friday, March 31, 2017

Gonfanon - Dux Bellorum demo '03

Gonfanon comes from France and plays black metal/dark ambient. It was formed in 2000 under the name Cythraul, released one demo under that name and then changed name to Gonfanon. This band is still active and so far they've released 2 splits, 1 ep and 3 demos.

Dux Bellorum is the second Gonfanon demo and it was released by Inspire Hate Records as a tape limited to 400 copies. The tape's pretty nice to have in collection, cassette is regular TDK and the layout is professionally made glossy paper printed on one side only. There are still copies available for purchasing on Discogs, in case you want one, and the price is cheap too.

First thing that's noticeable when listening to this demo is very bad production - the entire demo sounds as if it was recorded underwater. Except for that, few more things I feel like saying about this demo is that it is short - there are 5 songs on it, first and last being an intro and an outro and the entire demo lasts for only 14 minutes.

The first song which comes after the short intro is titled Camulos Horde and for some reason it reminds me of a band I love very much - Xasthur. The guitar riffs and keyboards in the background are very much like Xasthur (especially how Xasthur sounded back in early 2000's), but with worse production. The track which comes next, titled Combat, is a really nice short track, with beautiful and sad synths, I'm really enjoying this. On fourth track titled Gods Return I'm once again reminded of Xasthur (which is a good thing of course) except the vocals which are pretty hysterical.
All the tracks are keyboard driven black metal, very atmospheric and even eerie in a way. I think the entire "underwater" sound did a favour to this demo, it added to the heaviness of it all, it makes the demo more trippy and intense. Outro song contains weird chanting and beastly noises and growls and it's so weird, it's like listening to something made in some other dimension.

I don't know if I should say Gonfanon plays pagan black metal, seeing what's written on layout - that this demo is dedicated to the memory of his (artist's) Pagan ancestors, or if I should say it's atmospheric black metal because the music really is very atmospheric, or if band's style is black metal/dark ambient like metal archives say or if it's actually dungeon synth/black metal. I guess it's all of it, I just wish the demo was a bit longer. Would I recommend listening to the demo? Yeah! I'd recommend buying it, afterall it does cost only ~5€. If you enjoy dark and atmospheric (and unusual!) music, you'll enjoy this!

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