Since forming in 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Gideon have been on a mission to explore sonic extremities. It’s been a journey that has incorporated everything from hardcore punk to melodic hardcore via metalcore whilst gradually jettisoning the more melodic elements as they drift towards the heavier end of the musical spectrum. As they approach their 15th year, the juggernaut known as Gideon show no signs of mellowing out and their latest album, MORE POWER. MORE PAIN, is a testosterone-fuelled bruiser that throws its weight around like a heavyweight boxer, and is more than worthy of its caps rage title.

More Power More Pain is punctuated by spoken word interludes, and it is one that opens the album. I’ve mixed feelings about such an introduction; certainly, it sets the scene, yet it will become overly familiar after a few spins and will be skipped over in favour of opener proper ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. With guitars ringing like sirens and drums hitting the solar plexus, this is the real sound of Gideon; it makes a far better calling-card and its punchy nature would be a more powerful initiation into the dark world of More Power. More Pain. However, that’s only a minor quibble and ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ pushes all the needles firmly in the red; it’s perhaps no coincidence that as Gideon extricate themselves from their Christian faith their sound is becoming more brutal, but whatever the reason, long may it continue.

I don’t know if it is a case of art imitating life, but Gideon seem to be tapping into the current zeitgeist, this album is the sound of a world teetering on the edge of apocalypse, and that’s no more evident that on the incendiary title-track. Imagine Hatebreed and Terror slugging it out in a boxing ring, then you’d have something approaching the ferocity of ‘More Power More Pain’. A huge wrecking ball swinging from speaker to speaker, it throws jabs and punches at the listener in a constant barrage, and it’ll leave you feeling bloodied and bruised (but in the best way, of course). There’s a distinct lack of guitar solos on the first half of this record, and that only adds to the overarching feeling of brutality; the bass, drums and guitar are boxed up and delivered like a battering ram.

Such is the age of Gideon that they’ll soon be referred to as “old school”, yet they’ve still got a few tricks up their sleeves and some scratching on ‘Take Off’ makes an unexpected (but welcome) appearance to lend an air of variety. Likewise, guitarist Tyler Riley finally delivers a snaking solo on ‘If You Love Me, Let Me Go’ which threads the song together like twine and makes a nice foil the metronomic, crushing beat. Gideon are a band who understand musical dynamics very well, and for every hard-hitting, skull-crushing section the band insert a lighter passage for contrast, and each act as a mirror to highlight the other. It is here that the band’s “older” and “wiser” heads come into play and ensures that MORE POWER. MORE PAIN is a well-rounded listen; it ululates rather than being a succession of blast beats and flows extremely well.

After tearing up stages as part of The Amity Affliction tour (reviewed here), Gideon are a band very much in the ascendency and MORE POWER. MORE PAIN will continue to propel them forward.

Track List:

  1. Hell For A Man
  2. Locked Out Of Heaven
  3. Push It Back
  4. Too Much Is Never Enough
  6. Take Off
  7. Damned If I Do (Damned If I Don’t)
  8. If You Love Me, Let Me Go
  9. Off The Rails
  10. The Final Nail
  11. Midnight Blue
  12. I Will Carry You
  13. Back 2 Basics
  14. Let ‘Er Fly