DOWNFALL OF GAIA - Ethic of Radical Finitude (Album)
Crust punk is an interesting genre. One I would argue doesn’t really do exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. It’s epic and tragic, almost paradoxical.
It’s simple, yet complicated.
Drawn-out, yet brief.
Bleak, yet hopeful.
‘Ethic of Radical Finitude’ from International purveyors of the genre, DOWNFALL OF GAIA, is no exception to this - there’s calm amongst the chaos.
Opening track ‘Seduced by...’ sets the album up perfectly. 2 minutes and 43 seconds of what is, in the main, so quiet you would be forgiven for missing it - but you won’t. Foreshadowing the events to come, subconsciously tapping you into the road ahead so that no matter how much you drift, you’ll never lose the trail.
‘The Grotesque Illusion of Being’ ramps things up all the gears almost instantly, dropping the listener in at the deep end with blast beats which are cut open and sewn back together with sections of the almost blackgaze guitars which are so fundamental to the bands sound. The switches between brief moments of full time and half time which smoothly prop up all of the guitar parts through the middle of the song are subtle but are exactly what make this album so great. It’s obvious that clear themes and melodies for the album will have been laid out during inception but its all decorated with experimental breaks.
The track perceptibly ends a minute before its runtime, but this leaves an entire passage of music which continues into ‘We Pursue the Serpent of Time’ - tying them together brilliantly. It’s small sections like this that make you really appreciate the album as a complete piece of music - yes the division is there but you can easily be lost in its entirety of completeness.
Haunting spoken word from Nikita Kamprad of Der Weg Einer Freiheit on ‘We Pursue the Serpent of Time’ keeps the music engaging - a concept expanded on and executed to incredible effect on ‘Guided Through a Starless Night’ by Mers Sumida of Black Table.
Throughout the album the approach to songwriting varies on each track. It’s evident that the 16 months writing time must have been an organic process of building on their creativity. The deft use of dynamics, sometimes almost silence, shows how adept the band are at constructing songs almost 10 minutes long without even bordering on tedious. An incredible feat when you consider the band are intercontinental!
The unrelenting drum patterns contrast the reverb laden guitar melodies to paint a vivid background for the vocals which guide you through each song, irrespective of whether you can pick up on the lyrics or not. A point which is proven perfectly in ‘As Our Bones Break To The Dance’ which is written in German. Similarly, Dominik Goncalves dos Reis’ lyrics are clearly well thought out and none more succinct than ‘Of Withering Violet Leaves’ with just 3 lines of lyrics across 7:30 minutes of music.
Despite not strictly being a concept album, ‘Ethic of Radical Finitude’ well and truly captivates the listener - instead of telling you about the journey, it grabs you by the scruff of the neck and takes you along for the ride. That’s what needs to be achieved on an album such as this and DOWNFALL OF GAIA have absolutely nailed it.
Like most albums, if you want to be really picky, the album isn’t without its faults...the first minute and a half of 9 minute epic, ‘Guided Through a Starless Night’ draws you in with several beautiful guitar parts seamlessly sewn together and doused in reverb which completely immerses you in the atmosphere only to jolt you back to reality with what sounds like a slightly off translation into a heavier version of the main riff. The transition is so marginally out, it makes the whole thing that more noticeable, almost uncomfortable. The rest of the album is so incredibly well thought out and put together that I genuinely hope it’s just me and they’ve done something so brilliant it’s just gone over my head. The latter is certainly alluded too towards the end of the song as Mers Sumida’s previously mentioned vocal kicks in.
With 6 tracks and a run time of almost exactly 40 minutes - this is without doubt an album perfect for consumption in one sitting. Fittingly, a way to find yourself whilst losing yourself.
Downfall Of Gaia are:
Dominik Goncalves dos Reis – vocals, guitars
Anton Lisovoj – bass, vocals
Marco Mazzola – guitars, vocals
Michael Kadnar – drums
Downfall Of Gaia online: