Gaza - _No Absolutes in Human Suffering_
(Black Market Activities, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (8.5 out of 10)
I pulled the dead horse out from under a tarp
in my back yard piece by piece.
Once proud, once full of strength. She was gold.
Mostly hair and bones now.
I dragged a leg around the yard for hours wearing a path.
I left it there in the sun abandoned
like a child's bicycle at the call of a mother.
Mostly hair and bones now.

It's completely unrealistic to transcribe the entire lyrical content of Gaza's _No Absolutes in Human Suffering_ across this pixelated grey, and probably unsatisfying as a means to review the record. Tempting though. Any lasting love affair grows in stages, and the first stage in this case was reading the liner notes and turning giddy with infatuation. Before a CD player ever presented itself for ritual obliteration, I tore open the packaging and reveled in _Suffering_'s gritty poetic perfection.

We can attest, native bones make the best fertilizer.

Gaza make literate, conscious hardcore slowed to a hateful crawl. Sonically, think Elitist or Black Sheep Wall. Sometimes Converge. Dissonance marks every striking of Michael Mason's overdriven guitar strings. The cluttered, clanging noise that saturates each strident moment just intensifies the clamorous experience.

I kissed you on the teeth and laid there with you in the sun
And you answered more questions there
than you ever did breathing

Casey Hansen's drums imitate a crumbling mountain range, boulders snapping off and puncturing the skin of the world with concussive regularity. Over multiple listens, the jagged eruptions resolve into discernible songs rife with strong ideas.

You have to wade through
the dogs, the vipers, the preachers, the brands
With nothing between you and their sharpened teeth
But the skin over your pale ivory skeleton
...
And when you're through, when all that's left
Is your breath on the air and their howls behind you

Everything on _Absolutes_ is excellent, though there is nothing so directly, offensively anthemic as the title roar from "He Is Never Coming Back". That's okay. Gaza did that already. Gaza is (was, RIP) that rarest of bands -- one that has something valuable to say, the poetic capability to say it well without feeling preachy, and the musical acumen to back it up with a monstrous and abrasive potency.

It looks like Ms. America got into the pills again.
She tripped on some errant talking points
and broke her hip on Afghanistan.

So, I didn't quite rip all of Gaza's lyrics for this review. But if the lines I lifted spark just a little fire in your heart for Gaza, then trust me -- the music will do the rest.

Contact: http://www.blackmarketactivities.com/

(article published 28/7/2013)


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