He Is Never Coming Back
posted on 12/2009 By:
For young, relatively unknown bands, there’s a lot to be said with a name. Take Gaza for instance. Their moniker conjures up an inescapable cycle of violence—generations of simmering resentment and dissonances that cannot be resolved. Clearly this Salt Lake City unit put some thought into the choice, because that imagery neatly fits He Is Never Coming Back’s apocalyptic lurch.
At risk of alienating most of this site’s readers, it must be said that Gaza play a style that can loosely be termed ‘metalcore.’ But you won’t find any melodeath riffs or mosh parts on this album, and hardcore’s pep and preachiness are completely absent. This music has more in common melodically speaking with Gorguts, Immolation or even Portal than with most of Gaza’s more obvious peers. It is bleak, doomy, and thoroughly discordant.
Though He Is Never Coming Back does occasionally push itself into a Cursed-like power chord redzone, as on “Bishop” and “Canine Disposal Unit,” the album is dominated by jangly, seasick grooves driven by loose and mostly single-pedal drumming. The Botch/Converge school of time-signature trickery exerts some influence—“Tombless” sounds like a marriage of the two bands, plus the occasional clattery blastbeat. Mostly, though, Gaza largely confront the listener head-on with demented, ringing chord hits and dense rhythm section churn. At their best, Gaza move slowly and inexorably, like a creature from a nightmare who can be fled but not escaped.
I’m not ready to fully endorse Gaza yet; the band’s vocal attack is satisfactory but not very dynamic, and honestly their more hardcore-oriented moments often serve to dilute their otherworldly style. But even if He Is Never Coming Back is not a singular listen, it is nonetheless a step forward for one of metalcore’s more promising young bands.
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