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Gale – Vol. 1 Award winner

Vol. 1
by Andrew Sifari at 02 January 2015, 9:35 PM

Vol. 1” is the debut offering from Phoenix, Arizona band GALE, released independently this past October. The group’s huge sound and creative songwriting approach give color to the band’s bleak sonic onslaught, which takes cues from numerous sources outside of its Sludge Metal foundation.

Rather than flooring the listener right out of the gates with their musical intensity, “To Be Free” starts off with the slow, deliberate chiming of a clean guitar. As much as the more intense moments embody the sound of the record, the group’s attention to atmosphere is one of the things that makes it stand out the most. The buzzing guitars and dark melodic approach give the proceedings a decidedly depressing tone, with a sort of cold melancholy that contrasts with the raw volume of the music. “The Counseled” is a great example of this, particularly from the middle of the song until just before its conclusion, where the instruments create a dizzying, murky haze, alongside some sickening rasps from one of the band’s four vocalists.

The instrumental “To Build A Fire” takes this idea a step further, with distant-sounding guitars that trade off with a slow, churning riff section before transitioning to “Unsung". This is one where the band shows off their diversity, with a gentle opening melody reminiscent of Black Metal or maybe Funeral Doom, mixed with the usual hoarse roars. They also throw in some blast beats after an interlude of melodic riffs. The result falls somewhere between OPETH and CROWBAR, and it’s certainly a stimulating combination. The album closes out with “Burn Your Person", which sounds frantic in the beginning as it leads into the main verse. There’s something reminiscent of ANACRUSIS in the lead break around the 1:40 mark, echoing softly in the distance, and the riffs in general are among the album’s most engaging.

GALE set the bar pretty high with “Vol. 1", a release that is as intense as it is intelligent and accessible. The band’s subtle melding of influences, grooving riffs, and harsh ambiance make this a release that should impress fans of Sludge artists like DOWN and EYEHATEGOD, as well as anyone who digs well-written, crushing Heavy Metal.

4 Star Rating

1. To Be Free
2. The Counseled
3. To Build A Fire
4. Unsung
5. Burn Your Person
Brandon – Guitar, Vocals
Marcus – Drums, Vocals
Wilson – Guitar, Vocals
Nick – Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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