The name Gideon can mean a few things in Hebrew: “destroyer”, “mighty warrior”, “crazy ass motherfucker that knocks down trees” (not kidding). Knowing that, I kind of knew what to expect when I received the new Gideon record for review, titled Costs. It gives me great pleasure to report that it did not disappoint.
Gideon is a five piece fight club soundtrack hailing from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Costs is their debut LP on Facedown records, and it is the perfect showcase for their brand of mosh-ready hardcore, which just barely skirts the fringe of metal. Hardcore hasn’t been my strong point for many years now, although I can still get down with some of the old school stuff now and again. It all works out too, because what Gideon offers is very much in that vein. The lyrics are borderline tough-guy-turns-Christian, but this wasn’t as much of a problem as it normally would be – the music completely backs it up.
The guitars are mostly simple and slow-paced, but when you hear it, you’ll understand that that was the point. There are more open chords and breakdowns than I normally care for, but I couldn’t envision this any other way. Personal favorites for this were “Foundation” and “Kingdom Minded”, as both of those tracks pretty much made me want to run directly into a crowd swinging a ballpeen hammer overhead – and that’s not even my scene. To keep things from getting too stagnant, the string section gives us a punk rock riff every now and again, and I found this to be both effective and enjoyable. The drums are beaten at slow to medium tempos with a fair amount of double bass, but coupled with the guitars, they successfully deliver a one-two punch to the gut.
The vocals are the typical hardcore violence rendition that you would expect, and this suits Gideon well. The mid-to-low (but mostly mid) screaming sounds great. There are also a fair amount of gang vocal parts as well, and like the holy nigh tough guy lyrics, this is normally a problem for me – just not here, for some reason. My only complaint about the vocals (and pretty much the whole record, for that matter) is the clean singing. It only appears in two songs, and it doesn’t dominate in either of them, so it wasn’t enough to really hold this album back. The singing isn’t bad, and it’s definitely not the whiny post-hardcore effect that a lot of otherwise heavy bands are way too fond of – I just felt like it didn’t fit a band as brutal as Gideon all that well. I thought it was akin to throwing a cute, dancing puppy into the middle of a circle pit, especially in the second track, “Unworthy” – you don’t have the heart to shoo it away because it wants to hang with you, but it cramps your style nonetheless. At any rate, Costs made it through my rotation pretty much unscathed.
I feel that Gideon is one of those bands that are just about to blow up, and we’re going to be hearing more from them in the near future. If Costs is any indicator, they should do alright for themselves with their comin’-out-swingin’ approach. Even if you’re on the fence with hardcore, I think you’d be able to get into this one. Actual hardcore fans won’t even have to give it a second thought.
03. False Profits
06. Brave New World
08. Kingdom Minded