Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gates - "They Hide In The Shadows" (2011) [Handmade Birds Records]

I've never been one for live albums - there's something about the whole "I already have studio recordings of these songs, I might as well go out and spend more money on poorly mixed direct-from-soundboard mp3s" that sort of pushes me the wrong way. Metal bands have always had this obsession with capturing their live sounds, whether it be on video or album, because, chances are, their audience members were too tanked at the show to hear the venue's halfway decent PA system. I know, I'm coming off as some sort of gigantic dick about this whole thing, but bear with me...I'm making a solid point about this album.

You see, Canadian noise-based drone/doom band Gates is the kind of band that can pull off a live album. This specific show, performed this past March, was Gates's fifth time performing as a full, four-piece band, instead of mainman BW's previous solo recordings. The self-classified "SPECTRAL DOOM" on this recording has enough variance and chance-oriented sections to keep me on the edge of my seat. There are no "singalongs" or the expected "anthem" on this album - these live renditions of their August 2010 album "Moths Have Eaten The Core" almost feel and sound like fresh, new material from the Gates camp. The chaos found within the addition of new members not only strengthens the project's near-black metal aesthetic approach to drone/doom, but expands Gates's range of sounds with extra layers of piercing noise and feedback and deep synthesizers. Those of you who have heard Moths Have Eaten The Core will definitely recognize the overall motion of the concert and BW's unmistakable deep guitar crunches paired with new bandmate J's howling voice, but will be pleasantly surprised with the album's overall cinematic effect. This is an entirely new product, even if the live show was based around another album.

I know a few of you are reading this thinking "This is a drone/doom band's LIVE album...why should I even bother?" and, normally, I would agree with you, as bands like Sunn O))) who release multitudes of live albums which all ultimately sound like a running refrigerator can definitely cloud one's perception, but Gates has created something dynamic and texturally interesting with They Hide In The Shadows. Yeah, drone/doom isn't for everyone, but this is something that you, the reader, should definitely hear. They Hide In The Shadows is set for a July 19th release on Handmade Birds Records; a CD limited to FORTY COPIES. For those of you who cannot fathom that, forty is a pretty scant number for a release, so if you want to hear it I suggest you keep your eyes peeled. HMB will be releasing Gates's next full-length album later this year.

Preorder They Hide In The Shadows here.


1 comment:

  1. Jon, what are you talking about, drone-doom is SO for everyone. It's practically mainstream nowadays.


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