We here at mAltIntel do not really like to repeat what other review sites have already determined, and when it comes to the band Gaza, it is too obvious of a statement to say that they are one of the heaviest and most crushing bands around right now. I mean, they truly are, but how many times am I going to have to a read a reviewer’s description of their brutal and grinding sludge-core? It tires me. Can’t we ever discuss how damn good of musicians the members of Gaza are? Their new album, No Absolutes in Human Suffering, is a demonstration of their talents not only as individual musicians, but of a band as a whole.
No Absolutes in Human Suffering is progressive without ever once actually mentioning the idea of it. Gaza’s past two efforts, He is Never Coming Back and I Don’t Care Where I Go When I Die, had memorable riffs and hooks that were easily identifiable. Songs like “Moth,” “Hospital Fat Bags,” and “Bishop” had me coming back for as many helpings as I could possibly fill up on. This new album’s memorable parts are not nearly as detectable. They do exist, one must just think their way through the onslaught to find the many notable nuances. And in no way is that a bad thing; this is a thinking man’s record, one that shows a more mature and highly technical Gaza.
The opening song, “Mostly Hair and Bones Now,” paves the way for the entire album’s heavy and unyielding unpredictability, and seamless changing of tempos. “This We Celebrate,” and “Not With All The Hope in the World,” are easily two of the best songs Gaza has ever made. A relentless and ever-fluctuating, discordant grind opens both songs but what ends them both are small moments of beauty, of false hope that insists on the idea that fresh air doesn’t exist, only the illusion of breathing it.
The title track, “No Absolutes in Human Suffering,” is a constant drilling into the skull of monotonous riffs and the screaming of the title track’s name as lyrics. One would think, with the word “monotonous” having a negative connotation, that the song becomes routine and uninspired but fans of Gaza know this is never the case. Instead, what the band does is they turn monotony into a tool of prophecy, one that will incite only the best of reactions at future live shows.
“When They Beg” features a jam-like coda complete with jazz-inspired drumming and a meandering guitar part while “Skull Trophy” almost drones its way toward Gaza’s most ruthless and fully realized closer, “Routine and Then Death.” What opens the song is a slow and mechanical build while Parkin screams “back and forth,” representing the first half of the song’s name. What the song builds toward however, is not something of brutality but of compassion, something of death and decay, a slow contemplation on all of life’s monotony.
And that’s just it. Gaza isn’t here to try and make the heaviest, uncategorizable music for all of you fucks to try and categorize. They’re here to contemplate on their own life experiences through music and what they share with us isn’t something to be constantly described, but to be explored, to be thought about. Gaza’s music is ultimately their own understanding of what it is that they see around them and No Absolutes in Human Suffering seems to be an almost perfect translation of that; it’s an incredibly dynamic and profoundly technical album that begs for repeated listens. So, when you do finally muster up the courage to sit down and take a listen, pay close attention, because just as in life, you may miss something beautiful amidst all of the repetition.
4.5 out of 5