Review: “Cold” by Gideon

Tuscaloosa Alabama hardcore crew Gideon have been making a name for themselves since 2008, though it has to be said that of the current lineup only drummer Jake Smelley remains from the band that started out. Gaining acclaim from their peers such that guest vocals from the likes of Caleb Schomo from Beartooth and Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Kahn have appeared in the bands back catalogue. “Cold” sees the band switch from previous label home Facedown Records to Equal Vision.

“Champions” opens the album in style, crossing over breakdowns while also demonstrating the range of former The Advocate vocalist Daniel McWhorter. Emphasizing the positive with typical hardcore themes of seizing the moment. It’s “Cursed” that ups the game. A guest spot from Knocked Loose frontman Bryan Garris and the intro riff from “Counting Worms” re-cycled into some pile driven breakdowns from former As Hell Retreats Guitarist Tyler Riley and the whole thing lifts dramatically. “Machines” keeps up the pace and energy while also introducing a clean chorus backed by uncleans. Lyrically themed at not being part of societies big machine is on point for the current climate.

“Freedom” sees Gideon joined by Hatebreed‘s Jamey Jasta for some full on mosh out worthy action. Once again maintaining the positivity of the hardcore themes and mentality while also inspiring you, the listener to clench your fist and punch the sky. “The Game” gets off the ground by introducing some hardcore punk pace the opening bars while adding some eerie keys into the chorus to fill the space left between the guitar attack breaks. Given the brutal chorus including the repeated lines “Dust To Dust” perhaps it would have been better re-titled? Title track “Cold” is a 90 second bluesy instrumental that leans on the bands deep South homeland for inspiration while acting as a moment of clarity before “Watch Me Sink” tears in. Then comes the surprise. The Metalcore inspired chrous has a strange familiarity to it that while in style was hinted at on “Machines” is now carried off more effectively. But actually it doesn’t suit what Gideon’s core sound is and muddys the water of what is otherise an album to this point that has excellent flow. Fortunately, the band pull it back with “Pulling Teeth”. From it’s hardcore punk start to its almost Wage War esq Tech-Metal inspired melody, it’s a banger of a tune. The bounce and energy that the band are able to inject into the song really pays off and and the use of stucato riffage in the pre-chorus adds to weight of the punch when the breakdown hits. Its a song driven by vengeance and Jake Smelley’s drum work through the fills works really well.

The punchy opening bars of “Walk Alone” continue the vibe of the previous track, while adding melodic lead guitar work over the the top of bouncy breakdowns. The underlying bass rumble underpins the whole thing and there is a distinct Knocked Loose feel to the closing bridge and breakdown. Under licence perhaps? It works with sunning effect. “Scapegoat” changes up the vocals a notch during the opening section verse but the lead work over the top of the chorus seems unnecessary. Trimming the fat generally works for hardcore albums and the excess is pretty obvious on this joint. Fortunately it’s short lived in its sections and counter played by some heavier breakdowns either side. The anti-racism theme is delived with a statisfying punch. “Thick Or Thin” continues the blood transfusion of Hardcore punch, with crushing breakdowns and throat shredding uncleans before delivering the clean vocal chorus of “I’m still alive, still alive”. As much as it adds a hook and catchiness to the song, the first time around, youlyo find yourself wondering why it’s here.

“Cold” is a real mixed bag from Gideon. On the one hand 75% of the album is a punchy, modern hardcore album with Beatdown leanings that would have fans of other genre bands turning their heads. On the other hand there is a vibe that runs through the album that almost says “we want to be more than this”. In comes the Metalcore choruses and clean lines but but kept to a minimum rather than being this “big chorus” vibe some bands go for. In comes the melodic guitars and some lead work that would be more at home on a progressive release. Which is where it falls down somewhat, because sometimes less is more. That’s apparent on the songs that feature the guest vocalists the most. When Gideon don’t get side tracked, they smash the windows and burn down your house. [7/10]



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