Simplicity is one of the most underrated aspects of music. Being able to take a minimal amount of sound and turn it into a fully-fledged experience is a true virtue, and it takes a lot of talent to pull it off well. Notable examples in this category include Russian Circles and Gojira– bands that both exemplify the writing skill necessary to set a great precedent of what can be done with incredibly simplistic arrangements.
Southgate pulls off this style with apparently relative ease. A combination of this simple sensibility and slightly-blackened melodic death metal, they manage to create a headbanging, pulsing rhythm while also invoking an almost naturalistic post-rock vibe. Tremolo-picked progressions lead the way through the tunes, occasionally letting either huge, atmospheric chords or punchy breakdown-esque riffs lead in their place.
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Their appeal lies in their pummeling nature- similar to the previously-mentioned Gojira, Southgate’s sound comes from their slow and relentless nature- like a juggernaut on the assault, it may be plodding and deliberate, but it also crushes everything stopping its advance. The guitars don’t let up for a minute across the tracks, slowly moving forwards like a phalanx of tanks on the move. The percussion punches through like artillery, accentuating the beat of each song. The vocals bring to mind images of a titanic beast on the move, smashing through everything it comes across in its sonic charge.
At the risk of sounding bizarre, I’d call Southgate the first dinosaur metal band- not because they’re old, or extinct, but because dinosaurs are what comes to mind when listening to their music. This music is vicious, lumbering, and sounds like an ancient predatorial behemoth. It’s a sonic Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that’s awesome.