Album: More Power. More Pain.
With great power comes great responsibility, right? While the idiom made famous by Spike Lee (via Uncle Ben, from Spider Man, if you live under a rock) definitely has a ring to it, it’s far from comprehensive. While power does bear responsibility, it also bears other consequences. It bears a great weight, one that can crush the soul of someone who isn’t ready enough to bear it. With that said, as heavy as that burden becomes, it’s become evident it can’t grow as heavy as Alabama-based metalcore act Gideon, or their long-awaited full length release aptly titled More Power. More Pain. With this record, Gideon lash out without filter or relent, combining vicious, primary breakdowns with a raunchy, visceral groove and a little bit of down-south spice that puts the BAM in Alabama—all underscored by a massive vocal performance and colossal production. Above all, More Power. More Pain. Is just fun to listen to, and while it might not be a perfect record, it absolutely has more than enough of a silver lining to keep you coming back for more.
If there’s one thing we know Gideon can do, it’s absolutely crush. Since the band’s debut full length record, Costs, they’ve been delivering nothing but groovy, hard-hitting breakdowns woven together by gritty, primal riffs. That doesn’t end on More Power. More Pain. If anything, it’s amplified. From the first licks of “Locked Out of Heaven,” Gideon are insistent on pulverizing the listener with some of the most aggressive cuts that their robust discography has seen to date. A personal favorite, “The Final Nail,” integrates a bouncy, bold breakdown between frenzied leads and a climatic, crushing salvo of chugs. Other, more moderate songs like the melancholic “If You Love Me, Let Me Go” see more melody than most other moments in Gideon’s discography, where bouncy percussion and a groovy bass underscores soaring, harmonized guitar work. With that said, moments like “If You Love Me, Let Me Go” and the chorus section of “Locked Out of Heaven” are rarities—the exception that proves the rule, if you will—with the rule being that More Power. More Pain. Is a ruthless release from the moment Gideon say “go.” While “The Final Nail” is one such example of Gideon doing what they do best, other songs—like the single “Too Much is Never Enough” and the album’s anthemic title track see the band’s bloodlust in rare form. Across these tracks, the listener is peppered with punchy breakdowns and monstrous leads, such that by the time the album draws to a close with the electronic outrolude “Let ‘er Fly,” they essentially resemble Swiss cheese. More Power. More Pain. Is quintessential Gideon when it comes to the band’s brazen style of metalcore, and it rips into the listener in a manner we haven’t truly heard since Calloused.
Where Gideon excel compared to their 2019 release Out of Control, however, is with the lyricism on More Power. More Pain. Historically a band with strong lyrics that stay drilled into the listener’s head, I don’t think it’s remiss to mention that Out of Control was a touch lacking in that department—something corrected for and then some with their 2023 record. Here, Gideon’s lyricism matches the unforgiving power and overall intensity of their vocal element. While some songs—“Locked Out of Heaven” and “If You Love Me, Let Me Go”—are somewhat more introspective to match their melodic candor, much of the release is unbridled aggression coated in bitterness and determination. This is abundant in the vocal delivery throughout songs like “Damed If I Do (Damned if I Don’t),” but also in the lyrics imparted. Even as “Damned if I Do” is powerful, “The Final Nail” and “Too Much is Never Enough” are home to cunning turns of phrase that play double duty as immense one-liners before colossal breakdowns. In short, More Power. More Pain. Is Gideon’s newer, secular energy and attitude polished and honed to a fine blade, cutting deep gouges and long-lasting messages into the listener’s ears.
While Gideon’s long-awaited release is strong, it’s hard to say where exactly it ends up in the context of their whole discography. When compared against Millstone or Calloused, I would honestly say it holds its ground—and on top of that, with “The Final Nail” and “Too Much is Never Enough,” we see two of Gideon’s best songs ever. With that said, the record is long, and its easy to feel as though some tracks blend together, especially with the only two “interlude” style tracks essentially bookending the entire release. Ultimately, even though the songs individually are immense and the record sounds incredible, there are probably one or two songs (“Take Off,” “Off the Rails”) that could be cut (which is to say, maybe too much was enough, in that instance only). Regardless, Gideon have put forth a massive effort that is one of the most fun, energetic and catchy metalcore releases of 2023, and a top-three contender for their discography overall. With More Power. More Pain., the listener gets both, but more over, they get pure enjoyment—and maybe a black eye to boot.
For Fans Of: For the Fallen Dreams, Born a New, Degrader, Like Moths to Flames, The Ghost Inside
By: Connor Welsh