Gone Is Gone, ‘Gone Is Gone’ – EP Review
As members of Mastodon, At the Drive-In and Queens of the Stone, Troy Sanders, Tony Hajjar and Troy Van Leeuwen have been part of some of heaviest, hard riffing, high energy tracks of the last two decades. But put them all together with multi-instrumentalist Mike Zarin in a band called Gone Is Gone and you get a unique blend of sounds, both brutal in nature yet also finding heaviness in more intimate moments.
Part of the reason for that is that the band grew our of a project in which Hajjar and Zarin were collaborating on scoring work for video games. Having created soundscapes to go along with the action, the pair found a knack for delivering tracks that could expand the scope of just one feeling and deliver almost a visual vibe to them. Having material they felt could go beyond their scoring universe, the pair sought out Van Leeuwen and the three of them began working on music before deciding that Sanders would be the perfect vocalist and bassist to bring it all to life.
Gone Is Gone made their first impression this spring with the brutally heavy single "Violescent," a track that features sludgy bass and guitar licks, moments of hard hitting drums and leaves a mark with lyrical commentary about the savagery of man. But the band's second release showed there was much more to the band than just the pure heaviness. "Starlight" opens with a more futuristic keyboard sound backed by tribal beats, but eventually turns more hypnotic and melodic in nature. It's the perfect track to keep listeners on their toes, both as a second single and the song immediately following "Violescent" on the EP.
The rest of the Gone Is Gone EP plays out like a musical journey. "Stolen From Me" is a moodier, but much larger sounding rocker that feels like it could be at home in the At the Drive-In catalog. That transitions to "Character," an experimental track that finds Sanders delivering a deep-voiced stream-of-consciousness vocal over trippy soundscapes and guitar flares.
"One Divided" is a building rocker with animalistic tribal drumming and a chaotic time signature shift that has already proved to be one of the more well-received live songs in the band's brief touring tenure. Staying on the heavier side, "Praying From the Danger" opens with a ominously dark vibe to it before the bass and guitars arrive with commanding presence.
"Recede and Enter" follows in the spirit of "Praying From the Danger," keeping it ominously dark over a short interlude of music with Sanders once again offering more of a deep-voiced spoken word delivery. And finishing things out is the atmospheric closer "This Chapter," a moody and epic offering that is one of the band's true standouts, guaranteed to leave the listener wanting more.
It's an impressive debut from a collective who has enjoyed the musical process so far, with Sanders already stating that he sees the group being in it for the long haul. A full-length album is expected to follow, but for now listeners have plenty to digest with this stellar debut.
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