Gaza - He Is Never Coming Back
Metal Blade
Groovy Death Metal with Grindcore influences
13 songs (35:20)
Release year: 2009
Official MySpace, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

I was quite impressed with the first album I heard by Gaza, 2006's I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die. It was fast, brutal, and memorable for both its catchiness and unpredictability. These guys are from the Salt Lake City area, a very conservative Mormon stronghold, and the band clearly has a problem with this religious ideology. The title of their third album has an equally anti-religious message (as well as many of their lyrics). However, He Is Never Coming Back is certainly a musically different sort of album, a little less diverse and more focused on slower groove elements, but still striving to create a violent yet ominous atmosphere.

How It Is, How It's Going To Be starts off with something different than the last album, a bit groovier with plenty of meaty riffs, but not much in the way of vocals for the first part of the song except a few deep growls. When more do come in they are the same guttural screams of Jon Parkin that I enjoyed on the band's first release. I like the catchy guitars; they are easy to listen to, yet the song still conveys a sense of foreboding. The Kicking Legs opens with this same fuzzy, groovy guitar work that continues with the brutally growled vocals. Definitely less speed than the previous album, but no less brutal. The guitar tones are interesting, but nothing new to the genre. I'm noticing some more atmospheric guitar work, for example towards the end of Bishop, where we get some more melodic riffs followed by some sounds that are really nothing more than a slow guitar slide up the neck. We are also treated to the same flanged guitar tone that was used heavily in the previous album in the 49 second track Biologist. Honestly for me it's a bit boring, but it does provide a nice sort of interlude between the aggression of the other songs, yet fitting with the album. Windowless House sounds more like your standard brutal death metal track with plenty of heavy riffs and fingertipped leads. It's also quite short at just under two minutes. Towards the end they do manage to bring in some more of the more melodic guitar work. The album continues in this way, throwing aggression at you with groovy riffs and violent growls. While the music is definitely inspired by grindcore, it's definitely not in the same category with all the slower, groovy guitar work and more melodic elements. Another song I really enjoy is The Meat Of A Leg Joint, which begins with a more theatrical death metal riff and moves into groovier and more spastic guitar leads of Mike Mason, accompanied always by the inhuman screams of Parkin, who also shows some more of his range. I also enjoy The Astronomer, a more atmospheric song that sounds inspired by the likes of Pelican or Jesu as a sludgy take on their sound.

On first listen He Is Never Coming Back sounds simply like a slowed down take on the previous album's sound, albeit a very listenable one. I especially found myself liking the way the guitars are used, as you've probably gathered from the review. As I listened to it, I was at first a bit underwhelmed because of the slowed down sound. However, after a few more listens I realized just how creative the guys are trying to be, blending different influences into their music that often work quite well to create a unique feeling of anger with a touch of misery. There is plenty to listen to on this album despite its 35 minute play time. Whether you like raw aggression or a bit of atmosphere and impressive guitar layering there's probably something here for death metal fans. It's definitely a fun album to listen to, and I found myself coming back to it often. Ultimately if you want to hear some heavy, aggressive music that actually tries to push the boundaries a bit, you'll definitely want to hear what Gaza has to offer.

Killing Songs :
Windowless House, The Meat Of A Leg Joint, The Astronomer
Khelek quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Gaza that we have reviewed:
Gaza - No Absolutes in Human Suffering reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 85 / 100
Gaza - I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die reviewed by Khelek and quoted 80 / 100
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