DOWNFALL OF GAIA     “Silhouettes of Disgust”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Even though Germany’s DOWNFALL OF GAIA have been around for 15 years, this record is my first actual encounter with them. I could have dived into their previous output as research for this here review, but I thought I would go into this from zero. Everything about the band is new to me and I feel my missive should reflect that.

This is a hodgepodge of sounds ranging from very fast and aggressive “semi-black” metal to drifting post metal drones to screaming modern hardcore a la CONVERGENCE. It’s all whipped together and sometimes winds up sounding pretty choppy. For example, “Bodies As Driftwood” kind of lurches from style to style, sounding rather herky-jerky. But there is a peculiar haunting sadness to the band’s music that seems to transcend the styles, an ethereal element that arises even during times of high aggression. There are some utterly majestic, sorrowful chords in the midst of “While Bloodsprings Become Rivers” that are just sheer beauty. It reminds me of somebody else...I rack my brains and finally I come up with a comparison: the late great masters of crushing doomgaze, THE ANGELIC PROCESS. DOWNFALL OF GAIA is not quite as dense or noisy as that incredible band, but they do have the sad, ethereal feeling found in their music.

That particular song is the album highlight by far, but there are other strong points. “Final Vows” mixes an industrial grind with post-metal elements to good effect, “Unredeemable” has more haunting riffs mixed with thunderous drums (which are outstanding throughout the album) and forward thrust,  and the opener “Existence of Awe” is a screaming attack of modern hardcore and fast black metal. The vocals are very much “screamo” style which does get monotonous after a while.

Even though parts of the album are awkward in construction, this is a powerful effort all told. If you can take extreme metal with atmospheric breaks and a melange of styles, DOWNFALL OF GAIA is worthy of attention.