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GGGOLDDD - This Shame Should Not Be Mine

Of all the music I have already reviewed this year, the new album of Gggolddd (formerly known as Gold and renamed for purely pragmatically reasons of being easier to find and identified) is surely one of the most anticipated.

It began its life as commissioned piece for last year's online edition of Roadburn and became not only my favorite stream of that extraordinary weekend, but in fact the most played show of them all.

That surely came as a surprise to everyone involved, since a whole performance dedicated to an intimate personal account of sexual violence is quite a heavy prospect and doesn't exactly appear as the greatest possible crowd magnet. On the other hand the relevance of the subject of course is indisputable; and it's relieving to see that honest art of burning matters can resonate with such a large audience. Even if due to a pandemic the audience isn't physically present.

Without Covid-19 and the sudden break from work, touring and regular social life however, singer Milena Eva wouldn't have been forced to face the reality of her repressed trauma in the first place.
"This Shame Should Not Be Mine" above all other meanings you could find in it for yourself, was a powerful expression of the will to overcome trauma.

And now it has been turned into Gggolddd's latest and most significant studio album.

GGGOLDDD - This Shame Should Not Be Mine (2CD Deluxe Edition) (2022)

Musically Gold have often been dubbed post everything. Post post rock, post post punk, even post post black metal at times, their hypnotic rock music is catchy and familiar, but also dark, often distanced and hard to grasp with your usual preconceptions.

On "This Shame Should Not Be Mine" Gggolddd changes gears and introduces a lot of bass-heavy, yet very clean and often minimal electronic elements. More than ever the music follows the story and emotions of the vocal performance, so at times, in her most fragile moments, Milena sings in an almost completely abandoned void of isolation. Apart from a minimum of lowest notes or as in "On You" only an alienated alteration of her own voice accompanies her. She is alone.
But when either her anger or her confidence grow, she can rise in a blast of exploding guitar layers or cathartic rhythm, best represented in the finale "Beat By Beat", when she declares that it's time for some healing now and she needs to move her body, before the last storm of the album is set loose.

The electronic part of this song isn't the only instance on "This Shame", where the band is obviously paying tribute to Björk, which was even more undeniable during the live performance, which featured an effective interview sample of the Icelandic icon in "Invisible".

Gold live at Roadburn Redux
It's not a detail I'm necessarily missing on the studio album, but rather one of several differences, which gives both versions their own distinct power and justification.
Thankfully we have all the time in the world to explore and compare or just enjoy them both, since both the LP and the CD are available in deluxe editions with "Live At Roadburn Redux" as a bonus disc.

Among several small changes in arrangements and a different overall sound - controlled studio environment vs. the vastness of the empty live location -, the unmissable biggest difference is that the studio album is one track longer. The title track simply hadn't been finished in time for the show.

Another band I find myself reminded of a lot - be it during the trip hop beats, but also during a lot of the rock music parts and due to the emotiveness and quality of Milena Eva's vocal performance is Archive - or to be more specific Archive, when Maria Q, and even much more so  Holly Martin take the helm on the microphone. So if you're a fan of said collective and especially albums like "With Us Until You're Dead", this might really be something you should check out, even if you're not too accustomed with some of the metal influences in the sound of Gggolddd.

All in all I don't think that it matters much anyway, from which specific background of musical preferences you're coming. "This Shame Should Not Be Mine" is an important meaningful statement, a transcendent, beautifully vulnerable and strong piece of art. And also just a perfectly written and executed rock / electronic music album.

There are more thoughts I could elaborate on. I could compare Gggolddd's approach to thematically related artists like Lingua Ignota, Amanda Palmer or Emma Ruth Rundle and how they resonate in different way, but I don't think that comparison would serve any of these amazing artists.
I could gush over the symbolism of the cover photography, but if it doesn't speak for itself anyway, you're probably blind.

And finally I also just have to leave some room in my head to write about "This Shame" once more soon, because not even one week from now, Gggolddd will perform it live at Roadburn again. This time in another new version with extra string players - and hopefully with myself as one small fragment of a huge bodily attendant audience.

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