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Gorycz / Kamienie is dark, slightly harrowing and decidedly different

Polish Avant-Garde quartet Gorycz return with their second full-length album Kamienie (meaning Stones in Polish), the long-awaited follow-up to 2018s Piach.

Gorycz – Kamienie (Pagan Records)

Release Date: 4 November 2022

Words: Jools Green

“Kamienie took four full years to be created,” Gorycz vocalist and lyricist Tomek Kukliński says. “It may seem like a long time for an active band, but considering the various circumstances that have happened to us during this time, we are very happy that they will be released at all. This material was made in pain, although it was not artistic pain. The creation itself is never a painful or difficult process in our case. Riffs, arrangements, and words come relatively easy, but life writes various scenarios, often completely unpredictable.

“We were slowed down by the pandemic and the lockdown. We said goodbye to two great musicians who had formed the face of the band so far. We were looking for more people, and while looking for them, we were also looking for ourselves anew all the time. Finally, Tomasz and Michał joined us. The bitterness got the right propulsion, we entered the studio and – it can be said for sure – that everyone had finally dropped their proverbial stones.

Gorycz – Kamienie (Pagan Records)
If something dark, slightly harrowing and decidedly different appeals to you, then you’ll love the superbly composed Kamienie.

For Kukliński, these challenges alone make the album a success. “I must admit that the album is very important to me personally,” he says. “It is what we have been for the last four years. It’s emotional and maybe a bit weird, but I can assure you there is no fiction, no cheating. There is only truth. Anyway, this is our goal in creating. The meaning of any art should be truth. Art begins with truth and searches for truth. The music that Przemek composes stems from a deep experience of life. It is the fruit of everyday life in which we live, which we struggle with as adult men. It is similar with the words that accompany the music. Bitterness is like an antidepressant; it allows itself to cope somehow.”

No one would deny it has been a difficult few years for everyone, and in fairness to Gorycz, I think a four-year interlude for an album as unique as Kamienie is an acceptable time to wait.

A couple of things I really love across the whole album is the bouncy style of the bass work which adds a very engaging hypnotic edge to the sound and contrasts against the very harsh and harrowing vocals and the complex, imaginative and often unusual percussion side to the sound.

Opening track Zabieram Skórze Twoją Twarz, which roughly translates as I take your face away from your skin, is harrowing and haunting, largely thanks to the expressive vocal delivery. Even though the lyrics are in Polish across the release, the intent and mood are expressed clearly in that delivery, and it’s musically a cleverly uncomplicated piece allowing the vocals to be unleashed with maximum impact.

Matka is initially a more intense piece, but with passages that ebb back and spoken elements alongside the angry, harrowing vocals and Na Dno delivers some of those previously mentioned interesting percussive elements alongside unnervingly torturous screams.

Chcę Inne Oczy, which translates roughly as, I want different eyes, feels like each note is carefully considered. Again haunting and hypnotic, those bouncy bass lines build and weave through the drum work, developing a more harrowing feel, especially the vocals, as the pace slowly builds, with an almost jazz-like feel to the composition. A great track.

Szczurom Niebieskim has a superbly discordant feel which I love and the vocals on the very brief Wybija Czas, which roughly means, its ticking time, take on a harrowing aspect to their delivery as well as musically having that marked passage of individual segments of time built into the rhythms. Znoszone Dłonie is a mesmerizingly reflective listen, the melodic aspect being quite bleakly beautiful, punctuated with urgent bursts of intense drum work.

Penultimate piece, Na Czerwono Odpłyną łzy, meaning tears will flow away in red, is punctuated with harrowing screams and guitar notes that cleverly almost sound like a sad female voice in places.

The final offering is the reflective to open Kamienie Milczą, meaning the stones are silent. Its tortured vocal delivery and furiously intense riffing and drum delivery builds in intensity and ferocity as the track progresses, to such an extent and duration compared to the other pieces. It’s a surprise when it suddenly drops back partway through the second half, but that is part of the brilliance of this release, the surprise factor throughout, bringing this fascinating album to a close.

Kamienie was recorded by Tomasz Stołowski from Nebula Studio, and mixed and mastered by Maciej Karbowski, also at Nebula Studio in Warsaw. The artwork for the album was done by Gorycz guitarist Przemysław Grabowski.

If something dark, slightly harrowing and decidedly different appeals to you, then you’ll love the superbly composed Kamienie.

Available via Spotify or in digital and CD formats from Gorycz’s Bandcamp: https://gorycz.bandcamp.com/.

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