David J. Gibbs - _The Beginning_
by: Alexandra Erickson (4 out of 5)
Black metal has, for the past decade and a half or so, seemed to bring out an unprecedented level of individual artistic integrity that isn't really found elsewhere. By that, I mean simply that there are countless solo projects that have been conceived and brought to fruition by the artists, with only the hands of the artist touching any portion of the process so as to preserve their vision. Some of these solo projects have been less heralded than others, some never even made it long enough to reach the ears of an audience. But every once in a while a solo project comes along that causes a large portion of listeners to stop and take notice. The brainchild of a seeming jack-of-all-trades 17-year old from England, _the Beginning_ from David J. Gibbs is an exceptional specimen for a solo project done well.

Written, performed, recorded, and mastered single-handedly by David (save for an appearance from Warpath's Pete Hawthorne on "Pray"), the three-track demo has all the feels of a celebrated folk inspired black metal venture from any number of well-known bands. Opening with "Pray", the obvious talent for rhythm and deep melodies breaks open from the start. Chugging, distorted guitars overlaid with baleful vocals and the clean precision only a drum machine can offer, it's a strong track through and through. The aforementioned appearance from Pete Hawthorne, a wailing guitar solo, contrasts exceptionally with the overall dark and foreboding atmosphere of the track.

The second track, "Upon the Ice", is a leap forward into a lighter, folk-inspired arena. Exhibiting a knack for archaic-in-metal instruments (jaw harp, tin whistle, accordion), the ability to marry light folk melodies with the completely wrenching undercurrent of deep black, almost death metal guitar and drums is just another display of David's seemingly endless talent. "Upon the Ice" instrumentally is reminiscent of Folkearth and a less blackened Kampfar. Rounding the demo out, the third track, "The Beginning" is an exclusively instrumental effort and dives even deeper into folkish realms. Very Celtic, slightly Scandinavian sounding melodies over a light rhythm, but kept in the metal schism with strong electric guitar work.

The only thing I can negatively say about this demo is that it simply isn't long enough. And given the stark variety between the three tracks, I would have liked the third track to be another effort with vocals, or simply a fourth track added on. However, that isn't to negate the instrumental effort, it really showcases David's talents as a musician. And I hate using his age as a sticking point, but the fact that this was indeed a solo project, from a seventeen year old, is terribly impressive. He really has nowhere to go but up and I can only hope a record deal develops in the near future, if for no other reason than to hear more of what he has in store for listeners.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/davidjgibbs

(article published 22/8/2008)

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