Downfall Of Gaia

Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes

 

01. [Vulnus]
02. Drowning By Wing Beats
03. In The Rivers Bleak
04. I Fade Away
05. Beneath The Crown Of Cranes
06. Giving Their Heir To The Masses
07. [Asphyxia]

[10/09/12]
[Metal Blade Records]

Alongside the genre standards of death, religion, politics, war and magick, it’s surprising how many bands turn to the raw power of nature for inspiration. Bands like Mastodon and Gojira for instance live up to their namesakes through the visceral organic energy of tracks such as ‘March Of The Fire Ants‘ and ‘Flying Whales‘ and when Isis‘ Aaron Turner growled ‘The swarm is flocking to the wound, their speed only matched by their efficiency‘ on their seminal Mosquito Control EP, it felt like you were actually being suffocated at the heart of the swarm.

Which brings up the interesting point concerning Downfall Of Gaia‘s Metal Blade debut. What is it about that graceful and majestic crane that could possibly conjure up anything similar to their more primal counterparts?

Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes, at the heart of it all, is summed up within the first word. Guitars crash and weave like ocean tides lapping the ever weathered rocks of the shore, feedback whirls an ever present chill wind and each earthy drum beat shakes the dust from bones that litter the desolate landscape that Downfall Of Gaia presents to us. The atmosphere is dense and as opener ‘[Vulnus]‘ slowly morphs from a dark soundscape to a blistering black metal tempest, it becomes apparent early on that the band has no interest in sugar coating their particular brand of bleak post-metal. ‘In The Rivers Bleak‘ immediately follows, asserts it’s dominance and acts as the albums center piece and highlight with 8 minutes of doom-laden dirges and brooding subdued sections.

The aforementioned Isis or even their counterparts Neurosis would probably be the best reference point, especially their earlier, crustier material, which is not surprising considering that DoG’s career essentially mirrors the creation of post-metal in the first place — from crusty, ruthless hardcore to a broader, more spacious version of the sound. It’s subtle but with the inclusion of more prevalent black metal parts you can definitely tell that this is still a band in transition, their adventurous outlook is admirable, but it’s sometimes at a cost to the fluidity of the song. This is most notable in the latter half of the album which feels decidedly rougher than the former half; the two ten minute center pieces ‘I Fade Away‘ and ‘Beneath The Crown Of Cranes‘, while still grandiose, sweeping pieces, are let down sometimes by their layout and structure.

As it turns out, the crane metaphor is incredibly apt here. Downfall Of Gaia are not interested in just trampling you underfoot, like so many of their contemporaries, instead they opt more for the Pelican school of thought where each track is a journey through the skies of the soundscape of their choice. However, the differce is that DoG are not afraid to drag you through the darkest recesses of their imagination.

 

 Downfall Of Gaia – Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes gets…

3.5/5

 

– DL

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