A very grounded new album about losing your mind
Name: Downfall of Gaia
Where They’re From: The members live in different cities in Germany, but their practice space is in Hannover.
When They Started: 2008
Sounds Like: Sonic eco-terrorism
Like their post-rock cousins, post-metal bands often evoke starry night skies with their classically influenced epics. There’s just something celestial about all the sparkly guitar tone and slow motion break downs. But German quartet Downfall of Gaia has an earthier feel to their music, which falls somewhere between post-metal and post-hardcore.
If you ever want to know if the band you are listening to is post-something, count the number of songs over eight minutes. If the number is greater than 0, the answer is yes. In the case of Downfall of Gaia’s recently released second full-length, Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes, that number is five out of a possible seven.
The album features roiling guitar leads and disconsolate, screamed vocals that call to mind mountainous, barren countryside. There are rumbling drums like unstoppable mudslides, long reverberating notes like water seeping into rock, and gentle drones as soothing to the soul as steady, endless rain on the black earth. It rages, but in a somber way, creating an overall image a planet that’s not angry … just very disappointed. Though the lyrics on earlier releases deal directly with environmental issues, this more progressive outing is a concept album, zooming in on one man’s descent into madness.
The theme isn’t cheerful, but there’s a strange consolation in the sound of the album, which evokes the harsh beauty of untouched wilderness at every turn. If you’re the kind of person who always wishes a thunderstorm would never end, this one is for you. And, though it is mournful, it’s never dull. The band started in a more d-beat/crust punk vein and you get the feeling the members are all still hardcore kids at heart, especially whenever a big break down surges up like a wild river overflowing its banks. We’re thinking of “In the Rivers Bleak” in particular here: