Those Gehtika scamps are a funny bunch. Impeccably spoken gentlemen, albeit gentlemen in a Guy-Ritchie-does-Sherlock-Holmes sense, their spiffing façade hides a ferocious heart that burns with a dark fire. The band have built a considerable foundation from which to launch their blistering assaults upon an unsuspecting public since their formation in 2011, with appearances at Bloodstock, beermageddon and Mammothfest as well as a highly-acclaimed album in ‘A monster in mourning’ under their collective belt. However, despite their impressive achievements to date, ‘the great reclamation’ still stands as a cut above anything that has come before. Featuring five tracks, the band deliver a precision guided attack that leaves the listener breathless and reeling.
Opening with the synth-infused ‘existence or oblivion’, the EP quickly gets down to the business of packing everything that is great about Gehtika into five short minutes. Anthony Knight’s voice commands the attention from the moment he strides into view and whilst Scott Allen and Topher O’Meagher deliver riffs by the bucketful, it is Marc Lord who grabs the listener time and again as he charges around his kit with inventive, yet maniacal glee. With deft use of light and shade allowing the band the space to maximise the ferocity of their assault, not least a hauntingly beautiful cello passage, ‘existence or oblivion’ is a compact masterpiece and a clear sign that this EP is going to be something special indeed. Short and painfully to the point, ‘Beneath the Catacombs’ barely reaches the three-minute mark, the band relying on shock and awe tactics as their string-augmented riffing plunges deep into the heart of hell to deliver a barrage of blackened metal that sets the heart racing. The title track is a longer, more ambitious piece with a near-symphonic feel to the opening riffs, but there’s nothing soft about Anthony’s sulphur-strewn vocals or Marc’s skull-flattening percussion. A metal anthem that will (or should) become a core part of the band’s live set, ‘the great reclamation’ harks back to ‘cruelty and the beast’-era Cradle of Filth as the band effortlessly combine sweeping grandeur and blistering heaviness into one astonishing song. ‘The human divergence’ is another assault upon the senses, short and gloriously savage, it sees Psy’ Timms’ low end rumble come to the fore as the guitars scythe through the mix in a wash of ear-raping treble only for ‘Yggdrasil’ to arrive, all too soon, to conclude the record. Another song that bristles with ambition, it sees the band weave complex melodies and searing brutality into a coherent and breathtakingly majestic whole that will leave you bug-eyed with excitement.
Gehtika never disappoint in the live environment, and in ‘the great reclamation’ they’ve done as good a job as is humanly possible of bringing the vitality of their stage show to the recording. Moreover, where the recording adds to the Gehtika sound is in the careful sequencing that sees the EP flow perfectly from one track to the next and in the way that the synth flourishes bring out a sense of atmosphere in the music that is easily lost in the hellishly loud live environment. Despite the number of bands that pass across the SonicAbuse desk, there are a handful that really make you question the sanity of record label execs when you find they’re not signed – Gehtika is one such act. By rights they should already be huge, but on the strength of ‘The great reclamation’, greater success is not far off. 10