THE GORGE understand one thing that a lot of accomplished, showy musicians tend to forget: less is more. I love the flashy, wild shit sometimes, but for longevity’s sake you really need to consider writing and attitude more than how many notes per nanosecond or fingers you need to fret said notes, chords, and riffs. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this St. Louis band march forth with the brolic musicianship you’d want from a prog act, but remains sensible and approachable – you don’t need a doctorate from Juilliard to appreciate this.
It’s funny I mention Juilliard, jokingly, because the members of THE GORGE are actually session musicians and educators for their jobs. Accomplished jazz musicians at that. And since jazz and metal go together way more than a lot of people realize, it makes songs like “Synapse Misfire” highly digestible and layered, fun but not tacky at all. We’re quite happy to help premiere the video for it here – it comes from their upcoming album Mechanical Fiction which drops July 28 via Pelagic Records!
Immediately, I’m sure anyone who’s dabbled in modern metal the last two decades will find a connecting stylistic thread between THE GORGE and the likes of Mastodon. They’re both similarly weighty and dense, flirting with sludgy elements, but the riffing and progression is feather-light and mathy, always on the move and ready to propel forward. No one would side-eye you if you were to bring up Meshuggah or Botch either (deja vu). The band talk about the thematic implications of the track a bit:
‘The frenetic chicken pick’n guitars and start/stop rhythms of “Synapse Misfire” work in tandem with the thematic exploration of what happens when the electrical impulses of the brain finally fail, passing on to whatever comes next. More often now we are remembered by a digital representation of our lives, for better or worse living on in the seeming permanence of the networks and synapses of the online world.’
Given AI’s obsessive development and use over the last few years, not to mention people’s desire to upload their own mind and consciousness before they pass on, this is quite the relevant topic. The video complements this well, juxtaposing performances of the band over renditions of the brain’s web-like synapses – simple yet effective. My favorite bit is the ending instrumental section where flair is stepped a bit to close the track out with rollicking drums, the best riffing of the track, and a general sense of overloading their sound to the point of abruptly breaking, though not literally. Again, THE GORGE, while technically impressive, do have a great sense of restraint that doesn’t take away from the musicality or energetic performance.
To be honest, THE GORGE caught my attention with “Beneath The Crust“, another song from Mechanical Fiction, and seeing the depth between these two songs alone really gets me excited for the album. It already feels like a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ kind of album where the band didn’t get locked into one, or even two or three, modalities. It seems primed to capture the true essence of musical progression: not giving a fuck about the labels. These days, that sentiment is growing more common, yet still feels like a pointed act of rebellion in a society that arbitrarily enforces that sort of thing.
If you like what you hear, take a hike on over to THE GORGE‘s Facebook and Instagram pages to give them a little follow. Mechanical Fiction will be uploaded to the matrix on July 28 thanks to Pelagic Records. You can preorder and/or presave via this handy little link!