Review Summary: Soundtracks for action movies...
I’m starting to believe the prominent pop leanings on The Fury of a Patient Man
have been only a phase in Gozu’s sonic development. You can still hear this side on newer recordings, but predominantly crammed between heavy riffage. The band have established a trademark sound early on in their career, so no matter on which roads they venture you can count on them to craft familiar material. Their latest LP, Equilibrium
seems to be the destination 2016’s Revival
headed towards. Everything is cranked up a notch, Marc Gaffney’s vocals sound slightly more raucous, Doug’s great solos and fuzzy bass are everywhere, whereas the drums constantly pound.
All the tracks on Equilibrium
overdose on the features above, so you can pretty much guess from the beginning what you’re about to witness. We enter again the realm of action flicks and wrestling this time, a feature that pays off (for me at least) every time. ‘Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’ is a steroids-pumped tune that boasts a ripping main hook and tom-heavy drumming. Gaffney’s voice perfectly molds on the harsh verses and softer choruses, thus giving everything an epic yet fun tone. Meanwhile, ‘The People vs. Mr. T’ slows things down to let the scorching riffs burn steadily. Marc’s falsetto gently accompanies the massive guitars, passing through several strong segments such as the hypnotic coda, where a cyclic riff closes the track in style. These guys make compelling, down-to-earth music and other bands in the branch should take cues from them.
During the middle stretch, we receive the punishing ‘King Cobra’, whose dynamic bursts feel like repeated punches in the face. Plus, Sherman’s soaring solo towards the end is really juicy. Meanwhile, ‘Manimal’ starts loose, however, it rapidly turns into another epic through its trudging riffs. ‘They Probably Know Karate’ shares a slightly more urgent groove, offering a welcomed change of pace. The colorful guitars often turn into gritty chugs, but these sudden shifts keep things interesting. Moreover, ‘Prison Elbows’ brings swinging rhythms with beautiful vocals, yet the wall of sound Gozu build on the second half is admirable. It’s something you wouldn’t expect from them. Only then, after roughly 40 minutes of full-blown heaviness, we’re finally treated to some moments of respite. ‘Ballad of ODB’ is Equilibrium
’s grand finale, starting with a few minutes of atmospheric chord picking, accompanied by chilling effects as well as a faint, background synth. It’s great to see the guys venture a bit outside their comfort zone, even though they couldn’t resist keeping the distortion aside. Raging guitars smoothly blend in at some point, leaving the quiet notes behind. Despite this movement, Gaffney’s lovely voice keeps singing softly. A necessary reverbed solo proceeds to end this album on a high note as usual.
seems to be a pumped up version of Revival
. Gozu leveled up on structures and dynamics, plus everything sounds so badass, it’s like you’re presented the soundtrack of an action movie (you get the idea after reading the song titles). Still, it ends up slightly flatter than its predecessors. I believe a couple of poppier or low key tracks would’ve helped offer a complete package. This is of course a subjective matter that others might not find relevant. The record offers a strong stoner metal experience, but I feel they left aside a part of them which brought additional fun to the overall vibrant attitude. Nevertheless, they are one of the few groups in the genre that keeps delivering such strong material and I am looking forward to whatever they decide to do next.