It's been a while since I last posted anything, so I feel it's time for another review! Yay reviews! Today I'll be looking at Gaza, a band I've always heard about, but never got around to checking out until now. These fine bros dropped their latest album No Absolutes in Human Suffering in August, and slap my ass and call me Julie if it isn't one of, if not the heaviest fucking records this year.
Pig Destroyer, and Dying Fetus have all dropped albums so heavy they make Axl Rose look like Christian Bale from the Machinist!" Well, reader who probably has no idea who half those bands I just listed off are, Gaza have something that all the other heavy weights don't. Chaos. When it comes to something heavy as fuck nowadays, it almost always needs to be the lowest, most down-tuned, fastest, most precisely executed playing possible. Not in Gaza's case. It's not like their songs don't have structures, rhythms and grooves, but Gaza aren't about the flash. There're no blistering guitar solos, no 300bpm blast beats, no cookie monster gutturals. Gaza just pump our songs that explode with energy and cause nothing but violent slamming, moshing, and powerstancing with your hands in the air.
No Absolutes is tough one to label. It's a mixture of hardcore, doom metal, progressive metal, and grindcore all pureed into one uniform blend. Vocals are 100% rooted in hardcore, with throat shredding yells being the main form of attack. The vocals are actually pretty intelligible sometimes, which comes as a nice surprise for this kind of music.
The instrumentation is where Gaza step above and beyond most other modern metal acts. The riffs on this album are brutal clusterfucks of guitar playing, but before you know it, they've smoothed out to slow, thick, lumbering doomy passages and have exploded back into utter chaos. Some riffs in particular seem to convey that "no matter how heavy it gets, it's still sounds airy and ambient" sound, and sometimes things back down completely from the heaviness. The last few minutes of the album come across as some of the most beautiful music you've ever heard after the last 40 pulverizing minutes. The outro of the monstrous track "When they Beg" reminds me of Cynic circa 1993 with its proggy and almost jazzy style. Some of the riffing and rhythms in that song also bring up memories of Pig Destroyer-esque or Wormrot-ish grind. The drums keep up with all the guitar wizardry on No Absolutes, and keep everything rushing forwards or crawling off. I'm almost certain sometimes there is even some polyrhythmic playing, which is always cool in my books.
The production on No Absolutes is what really adds to the ridiculous heaviness of the album. Production is some of the thickest I've heard, without entering entombedcore territory, which in this case is a good thing. The production on guitars isn't as muddy and sludgy as the Sunlight Studios wound, but sure as hell is as fat, warm and round. In the end, there's really nothing I can bash this album on. It's pretty fucking rad.
Bomb-Ass Tracks: Not with all the Hope in the World, The Vipers, When they Beg
On a Playlist With: Converge, Ulcerate
Gaza have made a fantastically engaging album that absolutely decimates you from start to finish. It's tough to make albums that are memorable in genres like hardcore and grindcore anymore, but a nice little injection of doom, death, and wallowing despair gives Gaza the kick they need to stand out. A must-listen for anyone who loves to hate.
That's all for now, folks!