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Gone Is Gone, ‘Echolocation’ – Album Review

Rise Records
Rise Records

We’ve seen it happen before. Several name performers from well-known bands come together to work on music, and there are times when the music doesn’t match the hype of its well-known parts. But, there are times when the chemistry is pure magic, and Gone Is Gone gave us an early hint of that with their self-titled EP in 2016. So how would they do with a full-length album? We’re happy to say quite well.

The band was founded by At the Drive-In drummer Tony Hajjar and multi-instrumentalist Mike Zarin, who had worked together creating musical scores for various projects. Realizing they had music that might warrant a different outlet, they welcomed Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and Mastodon bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders to help them flesh out the music. As you might expect given their score work and associations with heavier music, the band’s Echolocation disc is a fairly varied, at times atmospheric and other times heavy, collection of music.

The album opens with “Sentient,” a track that could lead you to believe that the band might eventually rival the ebb-and-flow, quiet-loud excellence of Deftones. It’s a moody, atmospheric cut that eventually allows for crushing guitars and Zarin’s synths to bound around all available space, giving a bit of a vocal showcase to Sanders, as well, as he hits the quiet, intimate moments equally as well as the power moments you would expect.

The track “Gift” displays a more aggressive approach, with Tony Hajjar’s drumming and some nifty guitar work from Troy Van Leeuwen driving the track. “Resurge” is a low end treat, with Sanders’ bass opening the song, and Hajjar providing a more tribal sounding beat.

“Dublin” is the band’s current focus single, a track Sanders previously stated was his “favorite child” on the album. “I think that one has the most deepest meaning to me, personally. It’s the song that every time we’ve practiced it, played it or listened to it back on a proper stereo system, it gives me goosebumps. That is a magical moment that can not be forged or faked. That one truly does it for me each and every time,” the singer-bassist told us last June. The plodding track has a bit of a haunting vibe, as Sanders sings about one losing their way as the slow burn intensity builds to the finish.

Later in the album, the back-to-back tracks “Slow Awakening” and “Fast Awakening” offer an interesting juxtaposition. “Slow Awakening” is one of the album’s stronger tracks, opening with a catchy guitar march, ascending and descending cords and Hajjar delivering a singularly powerful drum beat as Sanders mirrors a Roger Waters-esque deep-voiced delivery. It’s hypnotically engaging, then all the more jarring with “Fast Awakening” kicks in on the same themes with a more punk-ish energy.

Other highlights on the disc include “Ornament,” which rides a mid-song groove for all that it’s worth, the at times chaotic and driving “Pawns,” the moody congruence of consecutive tracks “Colourfade” and “Roads,” the solemn penultimate track “Resolve” and the title track finale.

Simply put, this is one of those albums where you get a listening experience. Grab the headphones, escape into the music and enjoy it for all that it’s worth. Though 2017 is only a week old, Gone Is Gone’s Echolocation disc is a promising start for the year ahead.

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