Full disclosure: I am not a typical grindcore fan. In fact, I don’t really consider myself much of a fan at all, outside of a couple Napalm Death records, Nasum, Pig Destroyer and a handful of other less popular releases spanning the last 20 years. However, one band that has always kept me coming back for more is the criminally underappreciated Swedish grind unit Gadget.
I first encountered them via their excellent release The Funeral March in 2006. Immediately upon hearing that record, I tracked down their previous one entitled Remote, and found it to be equally gratifying. In 2010, Gadget released a split with the legendary Phobia, and though the Gadget side encompasses 7 songs, it was still just a whetting of the appetite for a lengthier release, which seemed to me like it would be following relatively quickly. Then, nothing happened – until now. On March 4, Relapse Records will release the third Gadget full length titled The Great Destroyer and yeah….it destroys.
Part of what I always loved about Gadget is that they bring more to the table than just straightforward grind. The Funeral March showcased this fact really well with some interesting prickles of melody, sections of dark, noisy dissonance, and even a couple of moments of lethargic sludge. They managed all of this while still keeping both feet firmly planted in the tropes, atmosphere, and brutality of a grindcore record.
However, The Great Destroyer eschews a good amount of the previous record’s nuanced genre intermingling and pursues a more single minded approach that is focused on blast and bludgeon. This is not necessarily a bad thing either, because it turns out that Gadget is also really great when they strip themselves down to fundamentals.
Over the course of 17 tracks, the listener is presented with a torrent of churning, relentless rage.
One song bursts directly into the next, sometimes with just a tight, split second stop to catch whatever breath you might have left. Adding to the sonic assault the band presents, is the excellent production of The Great Destroyer, which has carved out a distinct space for each instrument within the mix. Fortunately, this means that the blast beats and guitar don’t turn into a pile of indecipherable trash in all the fast parts, and there is plenty of low end presence to make the record feel as heavy as it should, which is a very good thing, because it slams.
Some of the most satisfying moments on the album include the one-two punch of From Graduation to Devastation smashing directly into Dedication, which ends with a beast of breakdown that begs you to break a chair over someone’s back. The record’s title track also presents us with a brief but moody mid-section that moves into a blasting finish with a little ripper of a solo to top it off.
The only significant deviations from the apparent formula at work here come toward the end of the album, with the last two tracks containing some mid-tempo passages that feel actually slow compared to the blurring speed of almost everything else on this record. The final track I Dont Need You/Dead and Gone ends with a massive, lumbering riff that levels pretty much everything in its path, and brings the proceedings to a close on a completely devastating note.
With The Great Destroyer, it would appear that despite their lengthy dormancy between releases Gadget has proven themselves absolutely capable of making the record fans were hoping for, every bit as savage and unrelenting as their previous outings, and still facing forward. Rating: 8/10