Gaza‘s name has been tarnished by the action of their singer but the remaining members were not going to let this stop them from making music. Sadly, the first two releases did not convince me and left me doubtful that the musicians were capable to outgrow the shadow left by their excellent albums. Their first full length, is here to bring this to an end and start a completely new chapter for the musicians.
With a wall of sound approach, the band hit harder than ever before on Great I am and quickly follow with some blast beats, bridging the gap between Coalesce and Haymaker. The first half of the album is mostly composed of some very angry tunes but the impact is not lessened by repeated listens thanks to the excellent song writing of the musicians who are capable creating solid transitions between the blast and the slower and sludgier riffs. As expected, the atmosphere is still very bleak thanks to the dark melodies hidden behind the intense drumming that has been pushed to the front for some very dynamic result. The vocals are also very well recorded with every screams pushed to the shredding point, ready to slash the listener’s ears (Suffer lourder). As for the riffs, they continue in the same direction as the latest recording by Gaza and Bone Dance, mixing His Hero is Gone‘s feedback fueled crust with Neurosis‘ comatose melodies and the disharmony of Coalesce.
The first half of the album goes for the throat with some very fast songs but the second half breaks it down with some more moodier and slower material which makes this short album (only 36 minutes) quiet varied. From the sixth track, vocalist Anthony Lucero shows he is capable of handling melodic vocals to inject even more despair into the anguished music of Cult Leader. Even if his screams are powerful, there is no doubt that Lucero‘s true power as a singer shines when he drones out some somber melodies like a man singing a funeral eulogy, channeling his inner Scott Kelly or Scott Walker. If there was any doubt that the specter of Gaza is forever put to rest with the more angrier material, a song like A good life and the final title track or slow burner like the very well named Hate offering and the poisonous How deep it runs are here to finish the job.
With Lightless walk, the musicians are burying the ghost of Gaza and building a new legacy for themselves. The name of their previous name will always linger on the side of every review, but they can now build a new path for themselves from the ashes of all the best aspect of Gaza’s music. This is not the album that Gaza could have written after No absolutes in human suffering. This is the album Cult Leader has written and it’s a great album.