In the 1980's, I was a huge fan of the Dutch punk/hardcore scene. Bands like B.G.K., Nog Watt, Disgust, Neuroot, and Pandemonium came along with a fresh and untamed sound, that was mostly influenced by bands from the USA, but the aforementioned groups carved their own uncompromising sound out of this influences. Especially Pandemonium belong to the spearhead of the European bands with their red-hot sound that broke through every sonic barrier. It was in 1986, when I visited a show here at the Eschhaus in Duisburg, that was one of the most important venus during the 80's for every punk/hardcore band from all over the world. At that evening two instrumental bands from the Netherlands were playing there: Oh'Dev and GORE. I knew that the line-up of GORE consists of ex-members from Disgust and Pandemonium, but their sound was completely different from their old bands. The songs were slower, heavier and sound more wiry. Drummer Danny Arnold Lommen, who was the former bassist of Pandemonium, switched over to the drums and he was definitely a vigorous fellow behind the skins. To sum up, I can say that this was a great concert, and I became instantly a fan of GORE. A few years later I went to their next show, that was in Cologne at the Rose Club.
This time GORE shared the stage with The Young Gods, another great band, and this gig was so fantastic as the first one in 1986. Of course, after the first concert I bought GORE's first album 'Hart Gore', originally released in 1986 on Eksakt Records, and in 1987 it was the second album 'Mean Man's Dream' that found its way on my record player. Not only the music was absolutely refreshing at that time, but also both cover artworks which allow a lot of space for interpretation similar to the music of GORE. Now it's 22 years ago since I bought 'Mean Man's Dream', and I was always wondering why this band received not much attention, although their musical vision was really innovative for the 80's. It was only a small circle of people who cherised the unique and unmistakeable sound of GORE. Finally, in 2009 Southern Lord Records maybe roughly had the same thoughts and re-released the first two albums. 'Hart Gore' isn't as strong as the successor, but it represents an musical vision that is mandatory.
The guitarsound is dry and heavy, while the rhythm section is doing an energetic effectual work. Try to imagine a mixture between Black Sabbath and early Celtic Frost, but this here is more repetitive and has the same effect like pile-driving machine. Although the original album consists of ten tracks, this sounds like one long cut which is never boring for a minute. A singer would only be out of place and distract from the massive power of guitar, drums and bass. 'Hart Gore' was a promising debut, but 'Mean Man's Dream' stomps the first record into the ground. Once more the album contains ten songs, but this time GORE sounds more vicious, very mean and overwhelmingly brutal. Within one year this three guys have refind their crushing sound and especially drummer Danny is beating the shit out of his drum set. He creates a hypnotic suction which is hard to resist, while bassist Rob Frey and guitarist Pieter De Sury deliver an aural assault of dynamic heaviness. Exactly as on the debut the band bombs through all tracks without much pause, and again it's just gripping to hear how each song transmutes into the next. So much time has passed, but both records doesn't sound dusty or obsolete. I compared the sound to my old GORE records, and the new remastered versions sound much better, what doesn't mean that the original albums are crap. As much as I criticize Southern Lord for most of their latest releases, but here they've done an impressive job. Both albums are expanded versions, which contains a lot of unreleased live and studio tracks.
All in all you will find 43 tracks. It was a nice idea to arrange the bonus material in the same run like the original songs. Of course, the sound of the live stuff is rough and unpolished, but still enjoyable. Last but not least the big booklet includes very extensive liner notes written by Rob Frey and a lot of rare flyer and phots, so that everyone who wasn't there can enjoy the history of the band. Today some people describe the music of GORE as "proto sluge", "proto math-rock", or "proto doom", but let me tell you that this is a pile of whisked bullshit. Here we have one of the best innovative groups in the territory of heavy instrumental rock, played with an additional metal edge. After 'Mean Man's Dream' GORE altered their sound, which can be heard on the 1988 double vinyl album 'Wrede/The Cruel Peace', but that's another story.... Meanwhile I can only give you the advice to get a copy of 'Hart Gore/Mean Man's Dream', if you want to check out a real outstanding band!