Gaza's debut full length I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die is stark and uncompromising. When there are too many black metal bands gaining notoriety with gimmicky "evil," Gaza's work exposes the dark, cancerous, masochistic underbelly of America and by extension, human nature. But this isn't some subversive highbrow "art-core" with subtle references to Neitschzean melodrama - this is the most logical extension of hardcore I've heard in quite a while. The bottom end is as massive as the national deficit, the attack is impeccable, and what little high end there is, is searing.
Surprisingly this is on Metal Blade's subsidiary Black Market Activities, whose roster isn't something I am terribly fond of, but Guy Kozowyk has really amped up and fleshed out what he's doing with Gaza and his other slew of recent signings (Engineer, Architect, and The Network.) So if you're at least somewhat familiar with any of these bands, you know what you're going to get. Dirty, gritty, ugly metal with its roots loosely planted in old Holy Terror hardcore - but more vicious, more technical. Their bass player doubles in Premonitions of War, so there are some similarities between the two, but minus the grind aspect. They have small touches of nineties Hydra Head roster as well, with weird drops and some pull offs not dissimilar from noisecore pioneers Botch.
Fortunately, this isn't like one of Relapse's recent grind releases with nothing but straight up noise, Gaza can actually write. "Hospital Fat Bags" and "Sire" show some unsettling form of melody, and although they steer away from verse-chorus-ad-nausea, their songs are thankfully a lot more coherent than the current onslaught of spazz bands. "Gristle" even has a sing-along at the end - which brings me to the lyrics. Largely, I get annoyed with bands that have drastically different lyrical tones in one song, like the aforementioned "Gristle." The song starts off with the somewhat insipid, "They used you to clean up tears after a Thrice show. Fucking Belt buckles everywhere. Never digesting anything is a hell of a diet plan." Kind of weak, but I can appreciate how ridiculous it is (along with their slander of Hawthorne Heights and Hatebreed fans. [Note: I have a Hatebreed tattoo] "Some are even suggesting that evolution should be taught in science classes. May Dale Earnhardt rest in peace. Praise Jesus. LOL. Seacrest out. Hell crown. Heaven born," from "Hell Crown" is as much of a parody but I think the over the top inclusion of "LOL" really sets it apart.
So what I've said so far is, "Imagine an old Holy Terror band that Hydra Head would have put out." And as little sense as that makes, it might be the best I can come up with. While it's hard for me to say that these guys are entirely original, I am having a hell of a time coming up with any other reference point besides the idea of massive amplifier worship bands like Breather Resist and Cursed use - although they are entirely dissimilar from either band. They up the intensity and filth of most bands, and while I am sure there are some grind bands - Black Arrows of Filth and Impurity - that are more sadistically weird, Gaza takes the idea of creating the most hideously large, overpowering, disturbing music they can and running with it. And while bands trying to be "extreme" are generally very off-putting for me, Gaza does it so impeccably that I find it immensely satisfying.
9.2 / 10
Continuing where 2009s He Is Never Coming Back left off, Gaza move forward as a band whilst remaining true to their core values as a dangerous and destructive entity. No ...
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