Review Summary: Slowing Down is Futile.
The drums are a crucial instrument in creating a sublime sound in most music today, especially in the hardcore outlet. Drums can be used as a metronome, to keep the balance of the music flowing perpetually off of each new riff, bass line, or lyric. Most alternative bands prefer this technique, as they don’t want the drums to outshine the vocals or other instruments. Hardcore bands on the other hand, may sometimes lend the spotlight to the drums. Tenaciously and aggressively, the drums will do whatever they can to showcase what is possible from a single drummer. Other instruments will switch to the melody, and relapse into a rhythm. The drums will then take the lead and explode into a frenzied solo. Today, I have found many hardcore acts that use drumming to their advantage. None have ever matched the perfection found on Gospel’s The Moon is a Dead World.
What separates Gospel from all the other hardcore acts, is not an easy task to define. At first glance, they are just another hardcore band in an era where mainstream pop digs them underground. The guitar is enhanced by a static overtone, and provides a great melody to go along with the other instruments. The screaming may seem like gibberish a few times, but getting used to such aggressive and hostile vocals is key to respecting any album that features screaming. The lyrics paint a picture of a desolate apocalypse, and salvation is loosely intertwined in the complex web of screams and harmony. With each cymbal crash, did another explosion just go off? Or is it a chain of apocalyptic events, breaking off into an uncontrollable frenzy one by one until nothing is left standing. Each lyric layers off of each other as social commentary, with conversations and even a few soliloquys. Some come off as dialogue to a particular scene, while others are abstract and surreal. Aggressive
Every aspiring drummer should own this album though, and just take in what effects and sounds can be created by a man on a single drum kit. From the fast paced drum rolls, to the ecstatic cymbal crashes; the drums seem to try their best to outshine the other instruments. This said; such a violent and explosive performance should be in the headliners of the album. What this drummer does is splash his own take on the scenario at hand with his drums. The drums never slow down, and just when you think they might calm down, a curveball smashes your teeth in with your bitter expectations. From the shocking drum solo on “Yr Electric Surge is Sweet”, to the tension building performance on “Opium”, nothing is meant to give you time to catch your breath. This may go down as a bible to most hardcore drummers, giving them an influence to outshine what is found here. However, wallowing in such a dream may lead to despair. This is truly magnificent drumming, and every drummer in the hardcore scene should take some notes.
While most bands use ambience and progressive build-ups in long songs, Gospel says “To hell with that!” and gives us an intense nine minute long epic entitled “A Golden Dawn”. It truly is an incredible experience. Such intense and belligerent instrumentals are led by a mesmerizing vocal performance, as screams of direct dialogue and depressing subject material lead the instruments in the dark. The vocals are pin point accurate to the lyrics, as they don’t come off with loud irritated hushes and vain growls; but insane urgency and tight sophistication. It’s as if this is a counterpoint to the desolation found on Godspeed You’s! apocalyptic masterpiece. While the band used ambience and quiet instrumental build ups, Gospel dives knee deep into hell to draw their picture on the paper. There are no progressive or ambient parts on this track, just a fast paced joy ride until the very end.
The Moon is a Dead World can be compared to that of the roller coaster “Storm Rush” at Hershey Park. There are no slow parts, and there is no time for a breath of fresh air. Non-stop adrenaline will course through your veins while each note passes by. No hardcore band has sounded so sublime together to me in such a long time; many bands have tried to nail this sound for ages. Making sure each drum beat, each lyric, and each guitar string flow together in such a harmonic way can only be achieved by incredibly talented performances. This album, boasts that, and then some. I insist anyone interested in music should pick up this album; it is a beautiful experience to listen to in its entirety. It’s never felt so good to have ears.