Gaza - He Is Never Coming Back (2009)Release ID: 1836
I did check out Gaza's debut, I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die, when it was a feature release a couple of years back and I fucking hated it. Consequently, this didn't fill me with a huge amount of enthusiasm for the sophomore and I can't lie, I nearly always struggle with The Revolution and it's metal/mathcore content. That said, I did get much more out of this than I expected to. I still struggle with the vocals as they (in common with so many whatever-core releases) often sound like a toddler having a temper tantrum in Tesco's (a steroid-fuelled, 220lb toddler admittedly, but still!) I did enjoy a large proportion of the musical content however, maybe because the sludge component is more prevalent here than on the debut, or maybe because it feels a bit more accomplished than the earlier release. Whichever way, I wouldn't go out of my way to obtain a copy, but if it was on I wouldn't switch it off either and I think I would enjoy it a whole lot more with a less shout-y vocalist (but I guess that is what The Revolution is all about). A couple of tracks grabbed my attention - the main riff of The Meat of a Leg Joint is brilliant and the epic-sounding, although short, instrumental piece that follows it, The Astronomer, is a gorgeous and portentious-sounding piece. The lengthy, unnamed closer, or hidden track if you will, appeals to my Fallen sensibilities with it's serene and measured build-up and is reminiscent of the likes of Neurosis, proving that Gaza don't have to be super-intense all the time, which is no bad thing (and it has no vocals). Overall, He Is Never Coming Back had some really good moments and I like the overarching structure with the instrumental interludes breaking up the super-intensity of the main tracks, so this is probably as good as it gets for me and The Revolution and as such I would probably have to call it a success.
Two and a half years after Gaza's debut album was a feature release, it's time for this album to take the throne. It's a solid blend of mathcore and sludge metal, and I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy that combo. Though Gaza is never coming back, their music is gonna stay with us in this site.
Black Market Activities and Deathwish Inc. are two of the most excellent extreme metal/hardcore record labels around. With Gaza signed to the former, they've added in elements of fellow bands of the label such as Cancer Bats and The Red Chord into their sound. And holy sh*t, this offering is so stellar yet monstrous! Gaza has the chaotic rage of mathcore and dark dread of sludge metal with pieces of post-metal and grindcore, all in crushing devastation.
The album opens slow and doomy with "How It Is. How It Is Going to Be." Halfway through, some groove is added to the mix, and by the end, only feedback remains. Next up, "The Kicking Legs" really kicks things up with dissonant grind-ish mathcore through just 3 minutes (short, yet long compared to songs of that sound). The blend of sludge and grind is demonstrated in "Bishop". Then comes the first of a few interludes named after different occupations, the southern-ish ambient "The Biologist", a brief calm before the storm continues as intense as the rainy season in my country...
You know what I'm talking about the short yet mighty "Windowless House". Then the title track has a bit of the discordance of Underoath at that time. "Canine Disposal Unit" will leave the listener all beaten and bleeding, and their only hope is to crawl through the slow second half. Still the experience is worth it. The restrained "The Anthropologist" is another beautiful interlude. Then "The Meat of a Leg Joint" adds more meat to the sound.
"The Astronomer" is a full-on post-metal interlude. Then "Tombless" continues the aggressive fury of grind. From the last short interlude, "The Historian", you know that The Revolution is a clan that can include dark slow heaviness, not just the bright upbeat melody of early Enter Shikari. Ending the mathcore/sludge action is "Carnivore", nicely yet brutally. The untitled hidden track should actually have been considered part of the album. It nicely flows out of the rest of the album as a 15-minute progressive post-sludge Crusade (you know the reference), in a similar style to Neurosis. A very good ending for this album.
He Is Never Coming Back may not stand out as much as the band's debut, but it really shows how well they've achieved. Elements of grindcore, post-metal, and doom are added to the mathcore/sludge sound in a lyrical battle against organization. The only soft parts of the entire album are the first two interludes and that 15-minute hidden track. Everything else is bulldozing chaos! For those interested in this kind of sound, I highly recommend this offering to you all....
Favorites: "How It Is. How It Is Going to Be.", "The Kicking Legs", "He Is Never Coming Back", "Canine Disposal Unit", "Tombless", "Carnivore", "Hidden Track"