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Gone Is Gone - If Everything Happens for a Reason…Then Nothing Really Matters at All (Album Review)

Friday, 04 December 2020 Written by Matt Mills

Gone Is Gone have always been understandably wary of the ‘supergroup’ tag. Nowadays, the term invokes memories of showbiz flops like Damnocracy as much as it does a band like Temple of the Dog, and that kind of mainstream cash-in has always clearly been the last thing on this four-piece’s mind.

Comprising Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age), Tony Hajjar (At the Drive-In) and composer Mike Zarin–the unsung creator of that Inception ‘Braaaam!’ sound–the band specialise in cinematic yet minimalist psych rock. Their self-titled EP and debut album ‘Echolocation’ generated buzz but received mixed reviews that critiqued the continuously moody and unenergetic compositions.

‘If Everything Happens for a Reason…’ is a more dynamic offering than its predecessors, albeit not by much, resigning it to being one of those all-too-common instances where the singles outshine everything else on display.

The best stuff here is what everyone has already heard in the build-up. Early number Everything Is Wonderfall captivates with its loud, stomping snare and satisfyingly hefty bassline. It also flaunts Sanders’ most versatile vocal performance on the album, transitioning from sombre melodies to that muscular Mastodon rasp.

No One Ever Walked on Water is a strong showcase of Zarin’s penchant for loud, all-consuming beats, knitted seamlessly with Hajjar’s drums. The following Death of a Dream entices with its whirling synths and benefits from striking crescendos, creating a joyous and surprising release at Sanders’ call of, “This is where we say goodbye!”

Unfortunately, there’s precious little else to write home about between these highlights. Old habits die hard, and Gone Is Gone prove that by regularly relapsing into downtrodden banality. Singing that feels like it’s trying to be soothing and soft comes off as Sanders being half-asleep in the booth and wannabe atmospheric interludes (primarily Crimson, Chaos and You and Resfeber) are repetitive trips to the doldrums.

Dirge for Delusions is particularly egregious as a closing chapter, feeling stretched out despite only being five minutes long. Furthermore, its transition from consistently subdued doom to, suddenly, the last 30 seconds being dominated by searing noise-rock guitars is awkward. It gives the impression the band are desperately shoehorning in an avant-garde ending to make this finale feel more daring than it actually is.

‘If Everything Happens for a Reason…’ does have some truly great moments that excel as exercises in enveloping, atmospheric rock ‘n’ roll. However, its legacy will ultimately be as a part of Gone Is Gone’s ongoing difficulty to formulate something worthy of their individual parts.



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