North County melodic-metal band Ghoulgotha has signed with Dark Descent, a Colorado-based record label with a roster of artists with names such as Ritual Necromancy, Mortuary Drape, Sinistrous Diabolus, and Entrails. They play subgenres dubbed “black death metal,” “sludgemetal,” and something called “funeral doom metal.”
“We play ‘death doom,’” says Ghoulgotha founder/guitarist Wayne Sarantopoulos. “It’s death metal, really, but slowed down.” Death metal is known for its aggressive, growling, indecipherable vocals. “Traditional doom is regular singing. Death doom is more melodic. It’s death metal but slower. This isn’t for your average person. The average person isn’t going to figure out what’s going on [in the lyrics]. We’re not trying to convert anybody. If you don’t get it, you never will.”
But those who do (he estimates it’s “1 out of 100,000”) form a tight support group.
Sarantopoulos, who moved to San Diego from Massachusetts last year, reckons that Ghoulgotha is the only death-doom band in San Diego. “I didn’t know anybody when I first got here. We’ve had this lineup for about three months.”
He says there are plenty of local clubs to play, but the limited number of extreme-metal bands makes it hard to put lineups together. He mentions that Disgorge and Cattle Decapitation are sonically similar.
“We’ve had one show so far. We played with a bunch of thrash bands. My only wish is that there were more bands like us. As it is, now you might be forcing someone to go see a punk band, a trash band, and a death-metal band all thrown together.”
Just as rockabilly has its greaser, ’50s aesthetic, and ska kids have their clean-cut, sharp-dressed look, extreme-metal bands appreciate the gruesome.
“Yeah, we lean on the blasphemous side. We have a lot of demons and monsters. We’re really into horror-movie posters. Our music is so underground that the average person probably doesn’t even know it exists. So, they won’t be offended by it.”
Sarantopoulos says the demonic side of his music shouldn’t be taken seriously. “We are not overly religious.”
Ghoulgotha appears Saturday, December 1, at the Til-Two Club in City Heights.