Review: Gadget – The Great Destroyer

Review: Gadget – The Great Destroyer

Feb 22

Gadget - The Great Destroyer album cover

Gadget – The Great Destroyer (Grindcore/Death, Relapse Records)

Releases March 4th, 2016


It’s ironic that a band practicing a style of music which is identified in part by the fecundity of song output (how else do you fill an album when two minutes is on the extreme long end of average song length?), would have as scarce a catalog as Swedish grindcore outfit Gadget does. With roots going back to 1997, this group of death-grind gnashers has only two LPs and a handful of demos and splits under their belt, the last full-length being a decade ago. Now, their third record, The Great Destroyer is set for release and it shows that time away from making albums hasn’t dulled the blade at all. The songs are vicious and unrelenting, and the album as a whole escapes the sustained-listenability pitfall of many grind albums by having a subtly varied set of influences throughout the tracks. It’s not necessarily bringing anything new to the table, but what it does bring is a solid and engaging slab of rage.


In general terms, Gadget deals in the style of death-grind perfected by contemporaries such as Nasum, Rotten Sound, or Brutal Truth, although with their own flavor and delivery. The style is much more akin to modern death metal in terms of the tight riffing and even down to guitar tone, rather than to the raw chaos of hardcore and punk where most modern grind finds its roots. The songs come quick, heavy, and very very fast. They average about a minute-twenty and that’s a good thing, because a sustained assault from what this band has to offer would be detrimental to your hearing if you didn’t have a few seconds of rest between them. The Great Destroyer is quick to let you know where its attitude lies, when opener “Enemies of Reason” blasts into being with no preamble, no pretense, and certainly no introduction. The song’s savagery, the overpowering guitars, pummeling drums, and gnashed-out vocals set the stage for the record to come; most of the music here is of the same vein, though there’s certainly variety among the tracks. Which also happens to be the album’s strong-point; the band has its influences spread well beyond their genre, incorporating elements of sludge, doom, and traditional death metal into the ferocious grindfest that is their music. This is a Swedish band after all, and their death metal roots are deep (if that’s not a Dismember lead in the midsection of the title-track “The Great Destroyer” then I don’t know what is). “In the Name of the Suffering” is a song lying solely within doom/sludge territory, with its thick plodding rhythm and two-plus minute runtime (quite lengthy, relative to the rest of the material) and “Choice of a Lost Generation” is about as blistering as you can get when it comes to all-out brutal death metal.


Gadget band photo


What brings the package together is the technical presentation. Grindcore is a genre known for ear-bleeding brick walls of noise when it comes to the recorded product, and Gadget thankfully opted for a modern (though certainly not sterile and over-polished) mix and master. Despite the cacaphonic nature of the music, everything is giving its own chaotic space in the spectrum without much in the way of tracks bleeding into or overtop the others. Even the bass, always the first instrument to be lost in an engineer’s volume fetish, is audible and present enough to make a serious impact in the overall tone. To be clear (pun intended), we are not talking about a rich, subtly-textured sound here; this is grind after all. Most tracks, snares especially, proudly make their home on the ceiling of the mix, minding that the level meter never offensively dips down too far below red. Which suites the music just fine given the unforgiving assault of the style; genres like grind, hardcore, crust, etc. don’t need a wide dynamic range as long as nothing clips and you can clearly differentiate the instruments.


On the whole, The Great Destroyer is an enjoyable blast of fury in a succinct, straight-to-the-point package. The music is more varied than usual for the genre which keeps things interesting throughout its easily digestible runtime and helps to prevent an overly homogenized sound. To be honest, the band isn’t reinventing any wheels, they do mix things up with outside flavors but The Great Destroyer is still wholeheartedly a grindcore record. It just so happens to be a wholeheartedly awesome grindcore record on account of its intensity, solid riffing, and perfectly tailored production job. Hopefully we can expect a more consistent output from Gadget now that they’ve produced their strongest and tightest effort to date.


Conclusion: Blast this as loud as you can when you want to unleash the fucking fury.



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