Although initially going under the moniker Goretexx, since the latter part of 2007, Finland’s GOREPHILIA have been crafting a classically minded canon of death metal might. Two demos under this more-fitting moniker followed in 2008 and 2011, but it was 2011’s Ascend to Chaos mini-album where the GOREPHILIA legend truly took flight. Surely, their country of origin signaled some of their aesthetic – names such as Demigod, Convulse, and Adramalech rang true – but even this early on, subtle twists of their own identity crept in. Those would fully blossom the next year with the debut album, Embodiment of Death. Aptly titled, this first full-length ranged beyond Finland to the rich history of ‘90s death metal on both side of the Atlantic, again with an even more pronounced identity: swampy yet clear-headed, exceptionally tight but never sterile, and above all, mind-mangling songwriting that somehow sticks in your head.
It would take another five years before GOREPHILIA would deliver their next album. When it at last arrived, in early 2017, it was very much worth the wait. Graced with literally electrifying cover art, Severed Monolith matched it musically, showing even-more-twisted prowess in the songwriting department, here largely handled by founding guitarist Jukka. This second album also saw the arrival of prolific drummer Kauko Kuusisalo and second guitarist Pauli Gurko. GOREPHILIA were truly a well-oiled machine at this point.
While no doubt still reeling from the tragic loss of founding vocalist Henu – GOREPHILIA soldiered on, undaunted, and now return with their long-awaited third album, In the Eye of Nothing. With Jukka now also handling vocals, the four-piece GOREPHILIA exhibit a newfound sense of slithering finesse, that swampiness of old expounded upon with startling effect. Right from the very beginning, with ominous opener “Walls of Weeping Eyes,” the band exhibit a throttling energy no matter the tempo; each moment, every mesmerizing ‘n’ martial riff, is parceled out with precision, in place exactly where it needs to be and thoroughly maximized to its fullest effect. Which is all to say that the songwriting across In the Eye of Nothing has hit a fever pitch of perfection, channeling the diabolical fervor of early Morbid Angel with the strident command they’d exhibit as the ‘90s progressed, but obviously with the cosmic horror GOREPHILIA have been characteristically exhibiting all these years. In fact, one could point to a telltale track like “Ouroboran Labyrinth” for both a visual and sonic embodiment of the dread landscapes the quartet so effortlessly construct. Or, peer deeply into haunting cover art courtesy of Raúl González…inescapable immersion awaits In the Eye of Nothing.