Review Summary: A talent lost way too soon
Those following the tragic events currently unfolding in the aftermath of the Club Colectiv blaze of October 30 will already be familiar with Goodbye to Gravity, albeit for the wrong reasons. The quintet, fronted by former Megastar
winner Andrei Găluț and consisting of a menagerie of musicians from the local scene (guitarists Vlad Țelea and Mihai Alexandru, bassist Alex Pascu and drummer Bogdan Enache), are unfortunately no more, with all members except Andrei having passed away as a result of the fire. As such, it’s difficult to be impartial when reviewing what was set to be their breakout album, and major label debut on Universal Music’s Romanian imprint, but it’s important to try.
While their self-titled didn’t really inspire much, this album gets off to a flying start. The guitarists of Mihai and Vlad are in fine form, with aggressive riffs combined with soaring melodic leads, and Alex’s bass playing is miles ahead of the vast majority of metalcore bassists in the scene today (just listen to “Shadow Puppets” as an example). Andrei’s vocal performance doesn’t give the slightest impression that he was once a talent show product, instead, he barks his way through the tracks and provides a much rougher clean vocal performance than other metalcore vocalists, for example, Rise to Remain’s Austin Dickinson. The backgrounds of the other musicians, though, do shine through.
Coming from such acts as power metal group Thunderstorm, gothic metal’s Graven and melodeath band Rising Shadow, there are some clear signs of their old work in this. The lead guitar work is very much influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden (a driving force in what would eventually become power metal) while the calmer melodies could easily transition into a more gothic atmosphere. However, they stay true to the core (no pun intended) metalcore sound and manage to mesh the collective influences together perfectly to create something which is both refreshing, yet not taking risks to sound too different to the norm. Songs such as “The Day We Die”, “What If” and “Heed the Call” have some of the best and most addictive hooks of the year, even if being unfortunately prophetic at times.
As good as the overall album is, there are still flaws with it. It doesn’t quite feel as if the musicians were showing their full potential on this album – with all of them already being well into their 30s (Bogdan was already 41), you know that these guys have spent years honing their crafts and they could show more of it here without being a detriment to the overall songwriting, and yet they seemed to be holding back. The guitar tone feels a little inconsistent at times too, with the chuggier moments feeling a lot messier in terms of tone and production than the cleaner sound of the main riffs.
Of course, the biggest negative of all is the fact that Goodbye to Gravity will never be able to build on what this album showed that they could do. Signing to such a label as Universal would have opened up so many opportunities for them, but with all members save for Andrei having had their lives cut short (Andrei still remains in a critical condition as of writing this), that is a potential that will never be fulfilled. And in the current metalcore scene, a band such as this was desperately needed. A huge loss, but their music will never be forgotten. RIP.