Well let’s get that first hurdle over with, Gathiens are post-metal! It’s a term that once inspired excitement and anticipation at the chance to hear something genuinely original, back when Pelican and Mono were carving the niche that so many bands have since diluted. It is important in light of this statement to point out that this record was crafted and recorded in 2006, due to an original intention that it was made solely for the bands friends and family. A fact that bestows a certain intimacy to the music. With this in mind how do these four shoegazer’s approach the well trodden path of ‘post-metal’?
With a little more elegance and flair than most is the answer. The music shifts around the listener and delves into more up-tempo sections as evidenced towards the end of the track ‘Squall’. The bulk of the record is driven by layered and complex guitar patterns, as they swirl and dive between themselves they offer the listener a spiraling labyrinth to get lost in,. It is of note that the rhythm section manage to punch through the guitar dynamics to add their own complexity.
However it is on tracks such as ‘Connectango’ and ‘Inner Mission’ that the band mine an ambient atmospheric element of their sound, aided by intelligent use of gentle noise elements, that make Gathiens a band worth checking out. Listening to album highlight ‘Hegira’ it’s obvious the noise elements have been ratcheted up, with a darker more ominous tone to the guitar work. The song is a powerful mix of emotive guitar wail, feedback and heavy bass, which effectively fades out with a spiraling faintly mechanical swirl. The album closer ‘Nesh’ is a very relaxed affair, bringing the journey back down to the initial starting point as it mirrors opener ‘Alto Above’ with chiming guitar lines and casual cymbal work. It is the noise additions that raise Gathiens above the glut of ‘post’ bands and lend a mystic, powerful atmosphere to the bands music, the upshot of which is a very cinematic stance in an already crowded scene, but a crowd that Gathiens are standing out from.
Label: Murkhouse Recordings
Scribed by: Andrew Sloan