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Album Review: GumoManiacs – Priest of Lucifer X

GumoManiacs are a German metal outfit based in Regensburg, Bavaria. The project’s genesis initially commenced in 2007 from the remains of Thargos, a metal trio forming over two decades earlier and performing up to that point. The following year, singer-guitarist Daniel “Gumo” Reiss, the multifaced catalyst of both endeavors, would transform his one-man stint into a fully-fledged quartet. Additional guitarist Michael “Fuck” Pusch and brothers Robert “Hubi” and Michael “Air” Hoffman (bass and drums, respectively) have since rounded out the lineup.

Back in November, GumoManiacs released Priest of Lucifer X, its added numeral pertaining to the 10th anniversary of the original album. However, rather than simply reissue the album as-is, the band decided to take the presentation a step forward involving a from-scratch reworking of its material. Emphasized in this approach are a mixing style harkening back to early 80s thrash, and a barebones, anti-loudness war master – both solidly utilized by Hubi. Granted, this new version of the album is actually my introduction to the band, so the entirety of the music, not just the technical aspect, was taken into account with fresh ears.

Opening on “My Satanic Rite,” I expectedly heard a recently dug up metal gem from years past. True, the first incarnation of these songs was indeed recorded over a decade ago, but the newfound 80s influence enhances that idea. This clearly shows in the riffs and percussion, but also Gumo’s vocal tonality, especially by his wailing intro scream. I appreciated the consistent, headbanging intensity of the instrumentation, as much as how well Gumo’s vocals sit within the mix. The implementation of reverb to the general involvement is also surprisingly effective, as its subtle tinges apply to it a sense of both sheen and balance, rather than just a stylistic throwback. The track to follow, “Kill Again Tonight,” feels natural in its continuing the pacing of the album. Whereas the first track was more treble oriented, this song’s thick, bass-driven dominance was a refreshing shift. As the song progressed, its thematic standpoint brought to mind a grandiosely jacked mutant bulldozing his way through countless droves of civilians, with not even the most vulnerable spared. The theme of mortality is explored further in “Graveyard Fantasies,” a twisted number contextually complemented by its spiraling riff groove. I felt that it centers on one’s evolved judgment, the title pertaining to their youthful fascination with wanting to end life prematurely. However, as they give the idea more thought later on in life, their conscience kicks in to dispute the morality of it. To wrap up the first side, the pace further solidifies in the form of “Invert the Cross” and “Thor,” the two tracks representing an ongoing battle between god and demon, while the latter force assumes clear dominance.

The latter half of the album continues on a note of demonic perseverance. Beginning with “Ashes To Ashes,” the theme expands to center on premature death of the youth, wherein their burgeoning grasp of individuality and purpose had been totally eradicated. It then goes on to emphasize that once the end is reached, the notion of heaven or hell being ultimately unknown. Toward the end of the album, the pace takes an interesting turn on the tracks “Logarithm” and “Hasta La Vista.” There seems to be greater focus, even if unintentional, on pop appeal, particularly in the hook-laden structure of both songs, as well as their more direct lyrical relatability. In their present forms, each make decent singles in showcasing the album’s newfound potential. Without skipping a beat, the album returns to emphasizing the classic thrash-based intensity. Its penultimate title track features a careful, reverberated buildup, before exploding into outright percussive madness. Familiarly, Gumo’s 80s wail makes a welcome return in resuming the gruesome erosion of society. The final track, “Strike of Death,” closes the album as its longest and most involved cut. The song holds nothing back in its presentation of guitar, bass and drums, with all three elements especially bolstering that of Gumo’s vocals. Out of all the solos featured throughout the album, this one comes across as exhibiting the most presence, fluency and utilization, and really gives the track a standout quality.

Overall, Priest of Lucifer X is one of the most solid album revisits I’ve heard thus far. For the ensuing combinative colossal rampage, the band recognizes the importance of symmetrical harmony so as to enhance the brute force of each song. Considering the permutation the band’s music would assume later on, this revitalized version of their debut marks the first steps of their journey in the truest sense.

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About Jake Kussmaul

I come from a family who is passionate about all things music. I learned to sing at an early age, and by 13, had my very own Fender Strat guitar. I tried my hardest at learning all that I could. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, I had to teach myself an adaptive playing style. I learned to write and record my own music, despite these difficulties. In college, I started making great use of my writing abilities by reviewing music, as well as copy editing. I guess it's best to stick with what you know, while welcoming a fair challenge at the same time.

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