The dark and utterly relentless Downfall Of Gaia are once again back with an ‘Atrophy’, an album that is the follow up to 2014s ‘Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay’ and it feels as if this band are just getting started. The new album is just as terrifying sounding as its predecessor but it certainly feels as if things have been turned up a notch.
Recorded in June 2016 at Hidden Planet Studio Berlin, Atrophy was once again mixed and mastered at Atomic Garden Studio in San Francisco, CA, and is a record about the absurdity of life and human existence - an album about the constant dialog between life and death. Its something that that is easily heard within the dark sounding roots of the album.
The album begins with the opening track ‘Brood’ and is a moody yet violent sounding track that blisters its way through eight whole minutes. Its manages to take an atmospheric black metal sound and add an element of crust to it. The production helps a lot with its unpolished sound that really adds to the track. There are almost shades of Oathbreaker in there at times and we love it. This is continued into the second track ‘Woe’ which is uncompromising and sounds as if its just come straight from the depths of hell. One of the awesome things about this band are the vocals, in particular the reverb effect that almost helps paint a vivid image in the listener’s head of a small person in a big big world screaming their lungs out. It works well with the bands music and style.
‘Ephemeral’ changes the albums pace a little with a slower intro but with intensifying melody right before the vocals kick in to take things to a whole other level. The track goes from a moment where the melody paints a doom and gloom picture within the listener’s head to utter blistering and that’s just within the first 3 minutes. After ‘Ephemerol II’ allows the listener to enjoy the albums shortest piece of music which is filled with the sounds of sadness as reverberated clean guitars fill our speakers.
Down to the final two tracks of the album and things feel like they’re moving a little too fast. The great thing about this album is that its filled with long tracks that don’t get boring. Sometimes when we see a nine-minute song, it fills us with dread, but this band pulls it off by keeping things progressing naturally. The albums standout track for is is ‘Atrophy’. This is without a doubt the best on the album. Its absolutely blistering from start to finish with harsh guitars that somehow manage to maintain its atmosphere and melody from start to finish. This is what we love about this band and this is a track that really showcases the best of them. Things are fast, slow and then fast again, it’s a melodic mashup of terrifying black metal sounds and we will probably have it on repeat for quite some time.
‘Petrichor’ is the track to conclude things here and boy has it drawn the short straw. When you have an album with a this much quality throughout, bands can often fall short by concluding with a sub-par track. This definitely does not happen here. We listened to this big finale and uttered the words “holy s**t” mid way through. The first half is the most-black metal the band have sounded on the album and there are some serious black metal moments, we can tell you that. It’s a track of half and half. The first being utter chaos and then unexpectedly, it feeds into the haunting sounds of piano that then closes the show for us.
There’s only one way to really describe this album…Simply awesome.
Downfall Of Gaia release ‘Atrophy’ on the 11th November through Metal Blade Records.