British epic doom metallers Godthrymm (featuring members once involved in such luminaries as My Dying Bride, Anathema, Vallenfyre, and Solstice) return with their new album, Distortions. The follow-up to 2020’s widely-lauded Reflections shows the Halifax-based quartet of Hamish Glencross (guitars/vocals), Catherine Glencross (keyboards/vocals), “Sasquatch” Bob Crolla (bass), and Shaun “Winter” Taylor-Steels (drums) elegantly expanding upon their sound and vision. With tracks like “Follow Me,” featuring former My Dying Bride compatriot Aaron Stainthorpe, “Echoes,” and “Devils,” Distortions advances Godthrymm into the hallowed halls of the genre they adore to death.
“I absolutely wanted to create a much more layered and complex arrangement in the sound,” says Godthrymm’s Hamish Glencross. “Totally amping up the contrasts to the extreme—the light shines brighter, and the darker depths are vast trenches. There is a lot more harmony and melancholy for much of it, but also some slab-heavy riffing, too. We wanted a total progression in the production and more class and clarity in the sound, as opposed to Reflections, which could get quite dense in tone.”
Distortions is the second part of Glencross’ Visions trilogy—the third part, Projections, is already in the works. Throughout its seven-track, hour-long expanse, Godthrymm’s sophomore effort delves deeper into the despondent march of post-pandemic singles “Chasm” and “In Perpetuum,” the latter released exclusively on Decibel Magazine’s Decibel Flexi Series in 2022. Glencross’ emotionally-charged vocals pair perfectly with his towering riffs and thoughtful, crestfallen harmonies. The rhythmic foundation of Crolla and Taylor-Steels is absolutely critical to Glencross’ woebegone éclat. With Catherine Glencross’ angelic vocals and atmospheric keyboards stitched into the monumental “As Titans,” the granite-hard “Obsess and Regress,” and the stirring “Pictures Remain,” Distortions has it all.
“The songwriting for Distortions began during the first lockdown,” Glencross says. “That inspired me to start writing and recording at home, and that structure helped define how we would ultimately write the album. It was very much isolated for the most part, though. I would write and record the first arrangement of a song and then send it through to the others, who would record their parts and send them back. Then, it would be a case of refining and rewriting as inspired by the contributions of everyone. Only one song, ‘Devils,’ was written in the rehearsal room before the rest of the album.”
For an album centered lyrically on grief, loss, regret, resolve, love, and determination, it’s hard to imagine something inexplicably heavy yet remarkably beautiful. Producer Andy Hawkins (Hark, Grave Lines) was the perfect man for the job. Spread across The Nave Studio in Leeds and Sasquatch Music Studio in Huddersfield, he captured Godthrymm at their most menacing (“Unseen Unheard”) and vulnerable (“Follow Me”). The tones he extracted from Glencross, Crolla, and Taylor-Steels absolutely crush, while the brighter moments (like Catherine Glencross’ spell-binding vocals on “Obsess and Regress”) splinter Godthrymm’s disheartened darkness in two. Distortions was mastered by Mark Midgley (Doom, Hellkrusher) for Northern Mastering Co.
Side A: 1. As Titans, 2. Devils.
Side B: 3. Echoes, 4. Obsess And Regress, Side C: 5. Follow Me, Side D: 6. Unseen Unheard, 7. Pictures Remain
Title: Distortions 2xLP
Label: Profound Lore Records
Catalog No.: PFL-303LP
Release Date: Aug 18, 2023
843563165010 (Colour Mix)