Friday, September 20, 2019

Gate- Resurrection of Relentless God



Grindcore innovators Discordance Axis dissolved in 2001, shortly after the release of their now critically-lauded final LP The Inalienable Dreamless. 4 years later, Hydra Head released a collection called Our Last Day. It’s referred to as a Discordance Axis compilation, but it’s best described as a grab-bag; what it actually contains is two previously unreleased Discordance Axis songs, a number of videogame music-style instrumental  reimaginings of Discordance Axis songs, the first released song from vocalist Jon Chang’s new grindcore project Gridlink, a Merzbow remix of the entirety of The Alienable Dreamless, a cover by former split-mates Melt-Banana, and covers from 3 nascent grindcore bands that Discordance Axis admired: Mortalized, Noisear and Gate.

Gate had been around for 5 years at the point of Our Last Day’s release, and had a demo and a pair of EPs under their belt. After the collection’s release, they had developed some buzz in grindcore circles, and released a 3-way split LP on Blastasfuk Records a year later, called Crushing the Grindcore Trademark. They released a number of splits and a 7” called 希望=絶望, but never managed to release a full-length album.

That’s where this album comes in. Put out 5 years after the last Gate release, a collection called Early Works, Resurrection of Relentless God is the first full-length album in the band’s discography. With an historically erratic release schedule and varying audio and performance quality across their catalog, it’s hard not to ask: after almost twenty years, what can we expect a Gate full-length to even sound like?

Turns out, pretty damn good. This is the Gate that fans of that first decade of material will remember: almost constant, lightning fast drums, growled vocals, dry, buzzsaw-tone guitar. However, this incarnation of Gate is like a well-made videogame remaster: faithful to the source material, but adapted to modern sensibilities. Gate sounds better than ever here, while still retaining a significant layer of grit and rawness.

Resurrection of Relentless God consists of 21 barreling tracks that average out to a minute and 20 seconds per song. What that adds up to is a briskly paced record, with songs that still have some room to breathe. Save for the album being bookended with samples from what seems to be the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave, there’s almost constant forward momentum.

Despite being a step up in audio quality and production value from other releases in the Gate catalog, this is a timeless-sounding example of classic Japanese grindcore. These songs could sit effortlessly next to favorites from Rise Above’s I Love to Relax or Mortalized’s Absolute Mortality #2 on a playlist. Jagged, twisting riffs, pummeling drums and relentless vocals are everywhere here, with songs like “女神ノ天秤” and “Emancipation of Yourself” exemplifying the style.

This is an album that felt like it would never happen. What makes the fact that it did even more bewildering is that this is the best material Gate has ever released. Only time will tell whether Gate will release another album after this, but this one is more than enough to cement their place in the esteem of grindcore fans for years to follow.


Resurrection of Relentless God is available digitally on Gate's Bandcamp, or on CD from Obliteration records with a bonus cover of 324's "Lowestlevel" from Obliteration's Japanese-language store or via Hells Headbangers. [Digital download edition was used for the purposes of this review.]

2 comments:

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    1. Thanks! It's good to be back, I'm planning to stick around for a while now.

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