GOREMENT: The Ending Quest
Release year: 1994/2016
Label: Crypta Records/Century Media
In the early 90’s, there were quite a few hotbeds for the then fledgling death metal genre, all of which crafted their own unique sound and identity, that would eventually become the patchwork from which death metal grew into what it is today. Unlikely as it may have seemed, Sweden was one of those, and the classic “Swedish sound” remains very imitated to this day.
Gorement, whose story under that name lasted for only a few years, may have hailed from Sweden but were not content with imitating the stylings of Entombed, Grave, Dismember and the other “big names” of their native scene. Consciously or not, on their sole full-length album The Ending Quest, Gorement cast their eyes eastward towards the Finnish scene, and the Finns’ murky, often melancholic but doom-laden and dark style of death metal. There’s more than a hint of the eerie melodicism of Amorphis here, with the heaviness and crushing brutality being complemented by passages of haunting, gloomy melodies which remind one of Tales From The Thousand Lakes – incidentally released a bit later the same year!
And even when Gorement look to their Swedish compatriots, they go beyond the obvious. On the latter half of the album, there are passages where Gorement skillfully channel Katatonia‘s all-time classic debut album Dance Of December Souls with hauntingly romantic melodies and whispered vocals.
But that’s not to say Gorement are some kind of total misfits in the Swedish scene of their time. Whilst the “aberrant” elements are the ones that initially rise to the fore, upon closer inspection classically Swedish elements make their presence known. The dry, brittle guitar sound is a dead giveaway, even though the overall sound is not particularly “trademark Swedish”.
The Swedish five-piece take all of these disparate strands and weave a compelling album out of them, an underground classic in the truest sense of the word. From moments of doom-laden hopelessness to blasting fury, to romantically melancholy sadness and foreboding melodicism, even to some rather groovy bits here and there, Gorement display a versatile maturity that raises them above much of the competition. Truly, this is one of the underrated highlights of the Swedish scene.
Unfortunately, when originally released, The Ending Quest failed to have the impact it deserved, apparently due to the label not handling their end particularly well. It resulted in the band changing name and eventually folding, and The Ending Quest fell into the limbo of largely forgotten albums. Gorement was not a name often mentioned when talking about classic Swedish death metal. Luckily, someone at Century Media knew of the band, realized what an absolute gem of an album The Ending Quest is, and decided to re-release it. Both the vinyl and CD versions are lovingly crafted packages, allowing a new generation of death metal fans to discover this classic, and in the process repairing at least some of the damage done by the unfortunate original release.
If you are a self-confessed death metal fan, you owe it to yourself – and to Gorement – to check this album out.