Downfall Of Gaia

Downfall Of Gaia

Written by: AP on 19/08/2013 13:35:12

Bands like Downfall of Gaia, who practice the currently popular fusion of hardcore with post- and black metal, have traditionally remained a rather exclusive underground phenomenon with a vehement adherence to DIY ethics. As such, it is a little strange to find Downfall of Gaia now on the Metal Blade roster alongside a number of major players on the global metal scene; a partnership marked by the re-release of the band's debut album "Epos" (2010) and their contributions to a split LP (2011) with In the Hearts of Emperors as one eponymously titled package this year.

But having never heart these works, it is of course all novel to me - though not in the sense that Downfall of Gaia are particularly unique in their chosen style, given the profuse amount of bands that exist in the genre today. "Downfall of Gaia" is a miasma of chaotic hardcore, stateside ambient black metal and exploratory post-metal; always evocative, never merciful. Think of it as a mixture of the sensory punishment of This Gift is a Curse and the cold vast soundscape of The Psyke Project's "Dead Storm" LP (2009); both influences are audibly on display in the dissonance and frostbitten dirge of "Odium", and the following "Zerfall" into which seamlessly segues through a post-crescendo lull. The 10-minute "Zerfall", in particular, has a strong resemblance to TPP's "Winter" in the beginning, before lapsing into a maelstrom of noisy, crusty melancholia and sullen grandeur. In its long-winding bridge, too, one's thoughts are involuntarily drawn toward the foreboding, desaturated barrenness of Scandinavian nature in the winter - an effect amplified by nearly two minutes of the sounds of sea and wind at the end.

This is perpetually chilling stuff, and "Silere" and "Luftschloss" certainly make no attempt to inject hope into the destitution. No, Downfall of Gaia prefer to remain beneath the reach of light. The album is one best heard in solitude (in fact, solitude seems to be its purpose) and preferably on a particularly morose, rainswept day; for it comes with a guarantee of extinguishing any and all merriment. There is a time and place for such suffocating and emotionally exhausting music, and must commend Downfall of Gaia for achieving the effect. But even so, the two records that comprise "Downfall of Gaia" never reach beyond the boundaries of the post-/hardcore/black metal movement (though the second half, which consists of the two songs Downfall of Gaia wrote for the aforementioned split LP, "These Wet Feathers..." and "...Won't Dry on Their Own", do showcase a tremendous level of ambition and utilise the post-metal aspect of the band's music to a far greater extent); the quality is undeniable, yet the songs may as well have been written by virtually any of the bands mentioned in the for the fans of section below. Had I assessed these two records individually, I would have awarded them 7 and 8, respectively, so logically the conclusive score should then be the mean.

Download: Odium, Zerfall, These Wet Feathers..., ...Won't Dry on Their Own
For the fans of: In the Hearts of Emperors, The Psyke Project, This Gift is a Curse
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.04.2013
Metal Blade Records / Moment Of Collapse Records

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