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Downfall of Gaia: Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes

Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes, the newest LP by German metal quartet Downfall of Gaia, definitely has a wonderfully melancholic and poetic title. Similarly, its music seeks to express anger, heartache, and the like through a hodgepodge of black metal and post-rock techniques. Unfortunately, the end result is nothing more than a continuously bland, colorless, and noisy sound. There's nothing here that you haven't heard before (and better).

Founded in 2008, the group's music seeks to be "dark, ominous, yet not completely hopeless… [it's] as uplifting as it is overwhelming. The aural peaks and valleys fill the often lengthy tracks with a rewarding listening experience." Naturally, this self-description is a bit hyperbolic and idealistic; really, there isn't much diversity here, nor is there anything to make the listening experience worthwhile. In a nutshell, like so many other albums, hearing a few moments of this record is equivalent to hearing the entire thing.

Musically, Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes can be dismissed easily as a mixture of Agalloch and Godspeed You! Black Emperor; however, while these two bands each possess traits that make them distinctive, affective, and significant, Downfall of Gaia does not. The same timbres, growls, and approaches appear throughout, making the collection feel extremely repetitive and shortsighted. When the group does try to implement some changes and dynamics, it's barely noticeable. Although there are a few admirable moments (such as the bittersweet guitar effects that permeate throughout "I Fade Away"), the vast majority of this LP is monotonous and unoriginal.

In the end, Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes offers nothing that metal fans haven't heard a million times before and in an exponentially better way. Downfall of Gaia sounds more like a garage band imitating inspirations than it does a professional group of visionaries. Considering that the genre is bursting with new acts trying to claim the spotlight, a group has to be truly special to make a dent, and even with all their lofty ambitions and commendable musicianship, Downfall of Gaia simply isn't.

Track Listing
1. [Vulnus]
2. Drowning by Wing Beats
3. In the Rivers Bleak
4. I Fade Away
5. Beneath the Crown of Cranes
6. Giving Their Heir to the Masses
7. [Asphyxia]

Added: December 19th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1912
Language: english

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