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Album Review: Gnosis – The Offering of Seven

Who would’ve guessed that Varathron’s His Majesty at the Swamp was referring to the swamps of Florida? Despite hailing from the US, modern black metal act Gnosis makes no effort whatsoever to disguise their love for Greek black metal (as if anybody would have a reason to in the first place). Whispery vocals and ethereal synths adorn their new release, The Offering of Seven, and conjure up a sound that should immediately resonate with fans of the Hellenic style without ever venturing into derivative “Thou Art Lord cut-and-pasted onto a piece of construction paper” territory.

Gnosis doesn’t intentionally slow their music to a crawl, à la extreme doom or other doom-influenced subgenres, but they’re in no rush to the finish line, either. The Offering of Seven sits at a comfortable mid-tempo for the most part; the drumming can get pretty intense, and the guitar work often slips into slower sections, but every layer of the music keeps another in check, speed-wise. The atmosphere resulting from this consistency, paired with subtly haunting spiritual nature of the synths and lyrics, is warm and strangely inviting. Much like the pioneers of the style that Gnosis plays in (read: Greece), their music has a mystical property that manages to avoid feeling sinister or evil, per se.

Despite the mysteriously cozy atmosphere and the careful crafting thereof, The Offering of Seven is still very much a riff-centric album. There’s a first-wave black metal or even traditional heavy metal approach to musical structure applied here; the magic of Gnosis doesn’t come from dissonance or confusing/dancing around the listener, but rather from its ritualistic simplicity. It’s easy listening that still allows your mind to wander — a straightforward goal with straightforward execution that I can comfortably recommend to fans of both traditional and extreme metal.

The Offering of Seven releases on September 21st from Terror From Hell Records.

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