LabelBlack Market Activities
Tracklist1. Mostly Hair and Bones Now
2. This We Celebrate
3. The Truth Weighs Nothing
4. Not With All the Hope in the World
5. The Vipers
6. No Absolutes in Human Suffering
7. The Crown
8. When They Beg
9. Winter in Her Blood
10. Skull Trophy
11. Routine and Then Death
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Gaza is the antithesis of the church that shares its home base with the band, Salt Lake City, UT. While Mormons are known for (among other things) being positive, happy go-lucky, nice people, Gaza dispels any notion of positivity about fifteen seconds into any album they release. The music is always noisy and heavy, giving off the impression that the band is so mad at the world that it wants to shove as much sound into a recording as is physically possible. In that regard, working with the now renowned producer Kurt Ballou (Converge) was a tremendous decision, as his work behind the boards allowed all of the sludgy noise/grind to maintain its heaviness, yet there is an understated polish throughout the album that gives it a much more professional finish. It sounds glorious, even if there is absolutely no chance the band will reference any “glory” in anything.
Gaza is known for their technical and chaotic sound, and many tracks exhibit the band’s typical sound working so well. “The Truth Ways Nothing” is outright ferocious, and it sounds like vocalist Jon Parkin is ready to reach out through your speakers and scream the lyrics straight at you. “Vipers” features that progressive technicality as well, but there is a highly effective break that showcases the sludge element in the band’s sound. It’s a welcome respite in the sense that the sound level is taken down from eleven to ten, but the riff is memorable and devastating, something that the album could use even more of than it already has. “When They Beg” and “The Crown” also feature that doom metal aspect, but the Neurosis influence kicks in through some more post-rock aspects that, instead of coming across as beautiful, sound slightly terrifying amidst the sonic destruction.
This is clearly a step up for these angry gentlemen, as their sound has been polished, inside and out, for a barely cleaner approach; however, it does not come without issues. The title track features a solid doom riff, but the problem is that is all there is to the song: one riff while the song’s title is screamed over and over again. It is a track that would have been more effective as a one minute jam than a nearly four minute bore-fest. Second, while some of the excess noise and grind elements have been toned down a bit with the production, this album is not easy to take in. This is not the album a listener throws on when he needs some cheering up; this is an album to lament the downward spiral of today’s society. As such, the music and the lyrics are overbearing and excessively negative. It is a testament to the band that they succeed so well with this ethos, but it is too much to take at once.