Oct 2022 31

Album CoverGothminister
Album: Pandemonium
Category: Goth / Metal / Industrial
Release Date: 2022-10-21
Label: AFM Records


As we start to emerge on the other side of the pandemic and attempt to assess the damage, it feels rather comforting looking to Norway and seeing Bjørn Alexander Brem is back to his old tricks with the seventh studio album from Gothminister, Pandemonium. For the uninitiated, Gothminister is a gothic/industrial metal project that lives up to its cheesy name with songs that act as dark parables and tales of encouragement and comfort to those who tend to favor the gloomy side of life. As thick with theatrics as ever, Pandemonium aims to be like being hugged by a pair of bat wings.

While the terms “goth” and “gothic” may be bandied about a lot with Gothminister, this is more regarding subject matter and not sound. With chugging guitars and heavy synths, the band has much more in common with Rammstein than The Cure. After a brief intro track, “Pandemonium” sets the stage quite well, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of Gothminister. Taking on more of a rock opera structure than the rest of the album, the song features a variety of tempo changes and bridges to other movements; strong riffs and Brem’s distinctive voice sink their teeth into the listener, but some of the overly dramatic efforts such as operatic female vocals and MIDI-like orchestral synth arrangements can leave listeners recoiling from Gothmisiter’s dark seduction. The track acts as a great microcosm of the group’s sound – some fantastic ideas, interesting structure, but some occasionally questionable execution. This is all followed up by “Demons” and “Star,” which do an exceptional job of exhibiting Brem’s ministerial abilities and the gravitas of his voice with lyrics like “Show them who you really are because you believe that the whole universe is greater than their reality” targeting the young and isolated with pinpoint precision. Later tracks such as “Kingdoms Rise” and “This Is Your Darkness” with their marching pace again showcase Gothminister’s ability to enthrall its audience with strong rhythm and Brem’s bewitching vocals, but the spell is equally broken by tracks like “Run Faster,” which attempt to pick up the pace and end up feeling jumbled and messy.

Feeling much like checking in with an old friend, with Pandemonium, Gothminister proves to have emerged from the pandemic unscathed and hasn’t lost a step, but also hasn’t taken many steps forward. There is some evidence of experimentation in song structure with mixed results, but generally, this is still the same Gothminister for good and for ill. Fans are sure to find plenty to love in this latest outing, but Pandemonium seems unlikely to do much for this shepherd to add to his flock.
Track list:

  1. Abgrund (Abyss)
  2. Pandemonium
  3. Demons
  4. Star
  5. Sinister
  6. Kingdoms Rise
  7. Bloodride
  8. Norge
  9. Run Faster
  10. This Is Your Darkness

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AFM Records
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Trubie Turner (Flexei)

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