Downfall Of Gaia release their fifth full length album since their formation in 2008, building upon their neo-crust/ hardcore punk roots and further evolving their post-metal, sludgy and black metal style to form a comprehensively melodic and heavy sound. Taking their name from the ancient Greek goddess that personified the earth, which in turn gave rise to the James Lovelock Gaia Theory which proposes that all living organisms interact with each other and their inorganic surroundings. Thus forming a complex, but self-regulating system to support and maintain the conditions required for life on earth. The Downfall of Gaia is what humanity is perpetuating and yet disregarding. This music however cannot be ignored. In considering the Ethic Of Radical Finitude guitarist/vocalist Dominik Goncalves dos Reis has stated
“It combines elements from our earlier releases with the path we took on Atrophy (2016). There are long atmospheric parts with enough time to breathe, enough time to unfold, and on the other side there are harsh and melodic blastbeats. Each song is some kind of journey, with emotional ups and downs.”
In contrast to their previous releases, Ethic Of Radical Finitude is not a concept album as such, but rather there is a universal theme that links the tracks: the human desire for their basic physiological needs of safety, shelter and stability and that of discontentment with the eternal pursuit of gain.
“I guess everyone in life is trying to find this special ‘warm’ and safe place, their special place. To feel ‘home’, to feel ‘safe’, to feel satisfied. But maybe at some point you need to accept that it may never come, that you will never ‘arrive’”
In considering life, Goncalves dos Reis has described it as
“book filled with chapters that can only be closed with death” while in regarding death he states “You can also see the good things in it. It’s the only thing that makes the time you have worthy since without it everything would be forever, and nothing would have any value. No one would try to use their given time, no one would ever be on the hunt for their special place. It would be meaningless.”
While the music may not be as punk and crust-laden, the ethic and message remains.
This offering commences with Seduced By an exquisitely atmospheric and soothing instrumental which slowly builds, as a storm might, with haunting swells increasing in urgency and intensity. Culminating into a disconcerting fuzz which leads into the intense The Grotesque Illusion of Being. The bleak, blackness fades at around the halfway mark into a gentle piano based melody with poignant guitars before changing tangent. Gripping, intense, masterfully executed and with incredible changes in dynamic revealing different facets of the musicianship and ending in a drone which links into the rhythmically driven We Pursue the Serpent of Time. An undulating, majestic beast of a track which features the added vocals of Nikita Kamprad (Der Weg Einer Freiheit). Alternating the intensity of black metal, with snare based percussive marches and delicate chimes for an epic and tumultuous voyage towards an unknown destination, beyond the veil of feedback.
Guided Through a Starless Night drives us forward with a heightened sense of anguish, from the ethereal beginnings through to the spoken words Mers Sumida Black Table, via powerfully urgent and raw lyrics, blast beats and doomy riffs. The band have said
“Having Mers reading the poem is also the perfect fit. Her voice perfectly captures the emotions and atmosphere we wanted to spread, so we are really thankful to her for being a part of the new album.”
As Our Bones Break to the Dance invigorates with a percussive pummelling. It’s short, aggressive with the desperate, sepulchral leanings of Dominik’s vocals adding an almost gothic edge. Our journeys end with the astonishing Of Withering Violet Leaves. Hauntingly beautiful, melancholic, melodic, gently but epically it builds, increasing in urgency and intensity with vocals only appearing after the five minute mark. The combination of the gruff with the funereal lament is truly inspired, closing with prose delivered by Mers Sumida as an eulogy.
From dreamscapes to blast beats, meditative spoken word to ferocious screams. This is transcendental metal for the masses. 8.5/ 10
- Seduced By
- The Grotesque Illusion of Being
- We Pursue the Serpent of Time
- Guided Through a Starless Night
- As Our Bones Break to the Dance
- Of Withering Violet Leaves
Ethic Of Radical Finitude will be released February 8 and can be ordered from Amazon here
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