Gone Is Gone Echolocation2017 Rise Records/Black Dune Records
Supergroup sound off.
While it’s a label they don’t personally subscribe to, there’s no crime in calling Gone Is Gone a supergroup. The band feature an notable roster that boasts Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders on vocals/bass, Queens Of The Stone Age‘s Troy Van Leeuwen on guitars, At The Drive-In drummer Tony Hajjar on drums and multi-instrumentalist Mike Zarin.
Yep, it’s a pretty stacked deck, though that’s not to say they deliver a winning hand every time. For much of “Echolocation” is a somber dreary haze—one that seems built off of the back of Zarin and Hajjar‘s original pairing composing scores together.
At its core “Echolocation” is a lumbering slab of post rock that features trace DNA of each member’s varied projects. It’s no mere patchwork, but every now and then something familiar will stick out. As for the songwriting itself, that’s where things get far more involved.
The track “Gift” brings to mind a melody based take on the post-hardcore movement that swept the 90’s. That influence continues on to the follow-up track, “Resurge“, which with its boisterous bass snarl and off-kilter groove, almost sounds like something Helmet would have cooked up on “Betty“.
The gruff bass tone featured prominently on that song is certainly a recurring element throughout the album, as is Van Leeuwen‘s rich atmospheric playing. Sanders also delivers a fairly passionate vocal performance, but mostly sticks to his already established skill set when it comes to range.
Hajjar‘s busy drumming style is surprisingly adaptive, though he does tend to let loose on the cymbals a bit more than you might expect. Meanwhile, Zarin‘s subtle keys/programming adds entrancing sonic layering to the mix. It’s not until a song like “Roads” though where Zarin‘s input truly shines, injecting haunting electronic ambiance that recalls later 90’s era Nine Inch Nails.
“Colourfade” is also a particularly interesting track of note, with an effective bass line carving out a doom march song progression that falls somewhere between depressive new wave and later era Sunny Day Real Estate. The relatively austere arrangement and curiously blunt vocal delivery of “Slow Awakening” also suggest mining of similar territory.
Still, while “Echolocation” remains an aurally rich affair, it lacks in the forceful immediacy the group previously displayed on tracks like “Violescent” from their debut EP. This album is very much a bigger picture listen with a lot to digest. There’s some truly gorgeous soundscapes to behold, but also a lot of pacing issues and cloudy songwriting that could readily benefit from a clearer vision and more contrasting dynamics.