It took ten years, but here it is, the next Gadget album, only their third in almost two decades.
And it’s not terribly different than the previous two, which, of course, is hardly a bad thing.
And so, that means this is grindcore, of the Swedish variety (“Swegrind”?), all death-infected and blasting and following in the footsteps of Nasum. Remote was a great introduction – it’s still Gadget’s highwater mark, all these years later. Follow-up The Funeral March refined the approach, adding in some slower elements for contrast, and now The Great Destroyer hammers the whole thing home, ten years after.
Better late than never, I suppose.
It’s evident from the start of Destroyer that Gadget hasn’t lost any fire – tracks like “Känslan,” “Down And Out,” and “Pillars Of Filth” rip out of the gate at full blast, all snarling vocal and filthy guitars and thunderous drums. The guest appearance by Barney Greenway of Napalm Death in “Violent Hours (For A Veiled Awakening)” is an unexpected bonus, albeit one that’s far too short, barely more than one line in a song that lasts less than one minute and sports both of Destroyer’s grinding-est intros alongside one of its thrashiest riffs. The title track flirts with death metal tremolo picking, while both it and “From Graduation To Devastation” exhibit slower riffs that border upon catchy. Hell, the latter parts of the former are almost melodic. “In The Name Of Suffering” slides all the way down to a doomy crawl, almost flat out sludge metal. By the time the epic-length (at five minutes) “I Don’t Need You – Dead And Gone” closes the album down, its blend of haunting melody and trudging tempo feels almost epic, a welcome respite, a gentler egress from the great destruction before.
Produced and recorded by drummer and founder William Blackmon, Great Destroyer’s only real stumbling block is that it may be produced a bit too well. Whereas both Remote and Funeral March were rawer, crustier affairs, this one’s crisper, shinier, and in being so, it does lack the sort of rough-edged fury that characterized those previous two. The guitars and drums punch hard, and Emil Englund’s throaty roar is superb, but the bass tends to get lost in the explosion, and the whole thing feels a bit more sterile than before. Still, The Great Destroyer remains a powerful batch of blistering grind, so even if it doesn’t quite pack as much of a punch, it comes out swinging, and swinging hard.
All in all, The Great Destroyer isn’t the best Gadget record – nor even the best recent grind album, since it had the misfortune of being released right before the new Rotten Sound, which tops it. Sure, this chaos has all been done before, by Gadget and by others, but Destroyer is a damn good record either way, one that any fan of modern grindcore will enjoy. Maybe it took them ten years, but I gotta say it was worth it…