Review Summary: Gaza perfect the many sides of their sound to create the best work of their careers.
It isn’t too often that we see the emphasis of a band’s ideals take precedence over its music, but that has always seemed to be the case with Gaza. With painfully blunt album titles such as I Don’t Care Where I Go When I Die
and He Is Never Coming Back
, it is easy to see the why so much attention is spent on Gaza’s controversial views on religion and politics. But beneath the glossy anarchistic/atheistic veneer is a band whose musical prowess far outclasses its hefty subject matter.
No Absolutes in Human Suffering
is a continuation of the tried and true Gaza sound, with some notable changes in regards to songwriting. Much of the monotony found on their previous records has been addressed, which makes the album a much more interesting listen throughout. They still play a balancing act with their grind, death-metal, and sludge influences, something that has always been one of the band’s stronger suits. This time around, however, things are markedly improved with how well these various sounds are handled. It’s a much more cohesive record in general, as the multi-faceted band settles in a sweet spot, finding what can truly be described as their own “sound.” Every minute is full of dense cacophony; a murky and chaotic riff filled excursion with a heavy emphasis on tempo experimentation. Luckily, Gaza pull it off remarkably well.
The album opens up with “Mostly Hair and Bones Now,” featuring a mild but ominous beginning that does not prepare the listener for what is actually rather generic “explosive intro.” From there, Gaza begin to barrage the listener with their fierce delivery. There are sparse moments throughout in which one can catch their breath, as the 44 minute run-time is filled with snarling vocals and pounding percussion. The only true failing of the album comes in the form of the title track, which plods at a painful pace. With a thoroughly bland guitar driving the piece, the album’s title is slowly bellowed for about three minutes until the song just sort of ends. It offers up a different pace, and is easily the densest and bleakest song on the record, but it fails to capture the energy and excitement of the rest of the tracks.
Unsurprisingly, Gaza have once again dropped a supremely dark and engaging record that is as thoughtful as it is heavy. However, the band is still able to surprise, with No Absolutes in Human Suffering
feeling like their most complete and accomplished record to date. It still has that Gaza flair, but underneath the band has fine-tuned their delivery to make their finest outing to date.