To make your mark in music, uniqueness is key.
Gatling seems to be taking that knowledge and running with it.
-Their music is Metal, but you can’t place it in any category. And it’s not the stereotype of growling vocals and migraine inducing thuds. Instead, they have instrumentation that ranges from one acoustic guitar to a drum, two guitars, and a bassist playing loudly together.
-One way their music is available is through the Xbox Rock Band library. They are tapping into that ever important video game market, which is considered the new movie-soundtrack spot.
-And; they play a variety of shows. From the old Absinthe location, which had a basement; to their upcoming Mod Club gig.
Their album, Beforemath, is due out April 12th. But I got an advance copy of the songs to review, and I was pleasantly surprised. Just like I was when I first saw them at Absinthe.
1st Track: Ten Forward.
Opening with melodic guitars and minimal drums, this song soon becomes fuller. (Showcasing the strong rhythm of drummer Alex Sallas and bassist Matt Luu.) The few lyrics in the song make you curious, as they describe trying to forget, among other things, a ‘brush with death.’ There is a nifty little section, around 3 and a half minutes into the song, that I love. It brings surf rock so strongly to mind.
2nd Track: Midnight Cemetery.
I consider this the opposite to the first song. It starts off as a louder, chaotic whir of instruments and goes into lighter guitars. And the clear, concise vocals of frontman Elliot Slater. Soon enough though, the listener is given back over to the grand, loud instrumentation. You gotta love it, though.
3rd Track: Inverse Condemnation.
I do not know if it was Elliot Slater, or the second guitarist Alex Crosty. Or even Alex Sallas, who plays when he is not on drums. But whoever it was, someone played guitar on this song and gave it a rather hypnotic, dream-like quality. But in the last minute of the song, the sound goes in a very Metal direction. However, it’s extremely well done.
4th Track: Vertigo.
All the instruments, and the vocals, are showcased well on Vertigo. As it bounces from heavy, to light, to back again. The subject matter seems to be about a break-up, but that’s just a guess.
5th Track: Glass Room.
The lyrics to this track are a little creepy, but the creepy I like. (‘Waking up/ To the eyes of the dead’) Music-wise, it’s a rather light song. It’s full of acoustic guitars, and has a few rifts that really caught my attention.
6th Track: On A Rail.
This is a strong song, in my opinion. The lyrics speak, at one point, of learning from mistakes. There is solid, howling guitars courtesy of Alex Crosty and Elliot Slater. And once again, Alex Sallas and Matt Luu give an amazingly full rhythm section.
7th Track: Absolute.
Sometimes there’s power in subtlety. As this track proves. It starts off by seeming like a light track with lyrics that make you feel sorry for the protagonist. ( It repeats ‘You lied to us’) But then, the song hits the 2 minute mark, and the band makes some serious noise. And it leaves you thinking: ‘If they can do that to the instruments, they can handle whoever they’re singing about.’
8th Track: What Lies Below.
Making, to me, what seems like the most of their Metal potential on this track, Gatling get their heaviest. And fullest. And craziest. This is the longest track on the album, at 11 minutes and 40 seconds, and listening to it is akin to a Metal roller coaster. The lyrics are a little dark, as they discuss ‘a gunshot to the head…../Is this what Death looks like?’