Gideon – MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. (Album Review)
Gideon – MORE POWER. MORE PAIN.
Released: March 17, 2023
Daniel McWhorter // Vocals
Tyler Riley // Guitar & Vocals
Caleb DeRusha // Bass
Jake Smelley // Drummer
Marked by the sounds of violence and a lack of Southern charm–Tuscaloosa, Alabama veterans Gideon are back, offering battle cries and breakdowns on what is a hard-earned sixth commercial album! Known for caustic cuts like 2014’s Calloused or 2017’s Cold, this band has built something truly special over the last fifteen years, captivating audiences with their destructive blend of groove-oriented, rebellious metalcore!
Bold, brash… and absolutely unbothered… These Southerners have returned with MORE POWER. MORE PAIN., a tale as old as time that finds the four-piece locking horns with a wounded world! Gideon’s third release for Equal Vision Records, this LP shows that the very best of this band is certainly yet to come! Treading similar–yet different paths–as so many like-minded acts, Gideon shatters silence with a fearsome staccato, bringing the decimating discipline of Pantera into our modern moment; spurred forward by a metallic, relentless drum and bass connection, this record poignantly underscores the band’s resounding sense of self.
Two filler tracks–‘Hell for a Man’ and ‘Let ‘er Fly’–do little to compliment the overall effort, adding unnecessary playtime and distracting from the merits shining at the album’s core… An undeniably strong opener, ‘Locked out of Heaven’ spotlights guitarist Tyler Riley for a rare instance of clean, haunting singing over the tune’s refrain–an ear-grabbing nugget of contour that enters too early to be effective and, sadly–seems to have been mixed into murky obscurity…
Gideon shuns the sludgy, watercolor angst of fellow Southerners like Eyehategod, preferring a canvas of restless, rabbeted guitar–peppering this foundation with swift, unison strikes of rhythm as vocals soar over the top, razing everything in sight. ‘Push it Back’ boasts a terrific tagline, but the song is burdened by an unnecessary breakdown appended to the end–a minute of played-out hi-hat abuse that grows boring–fast. ‘Too Much is Never Enough’ offers welcome contrast, collapsing into a moment of technical syncopation, where an oscillating pattern of drums and guitar yields catchy, old-school nostalgia.
Throughout MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. Gideon showcases a strong sense of character, but not composition, and I think that distinction is crucial… I was overjoyed to hear the quartet’s untempered voice and stellar musicianship, but not particularly impressed with their current approach to songwriting as a whole. From the opener onwards, it became difficult to sift through the torrent of breakdowns, razor-sharp riffs, and ‘white-noise’ samples; too many times I found myself feeling that a song should have ended thirty seconds earlier as I half-heartedly shook my head along to yet another double-bass fueled outro… ‘Take Off,’ ‘Off the Rails,’ ‘The Final Nail,’ all feature fantastic ideas, but lacking direction, these tunes aimlessly wander away and eventually exhaust themselves…
That being said, however, the musicianship captured on this record is phenomenal! As clear and confident as ever, Daniel McWhorter’s grating bark chews through the album, preaching power… and pain… while the trio of Riley, DeRusha, and Smelley offers air-tight counterpoint. Handled from start to finish by Randy LeBouef at New Jersey’s acclaimed Graphic Nature Audio, bold, nuanced engineering highlights the chemistry and catharsis on display–leaving space for each and every musician to shine!
With standouts like ‘Damned if I Do (Damned if I Don’t)’ and ‘Back 2 Basics,’ these Alabama outlaws have put forth a strikingly commendable product! Doubling down on the biting cynicism of past releases and taking the world head-on, Gideon’s newest opus, MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. is sure to knock even the most seasoned metalhead off their feet! Ultimately, nothing life-changing (and certainly not without its flaws), this record is a still stunning time capsule of growth and excellence, a snapshot in time of an artist that seriously seems to be coming into their own!
Gideon – MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. tracklisting
- Hell for a Man
- Locked out of Heaven
- Push it Back
- Too Much is Never Enough
- More Power, More Pain
- Take Off
- Damned if I do (Damned if I don’t)
- If You Love Me, Let Me Go
- Off the Rails
- The Final Nail
- Midnight Blue
- I Will Carry You
- Back 2 Basics
- Let ‘er Fly
MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. is out now via Equal Vision Records. Get it here
Review by Thomas Hiscock
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