Downfall of Gaia

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Dominik Goncalves dos Reis: Vocals / Guitar
Peter Wolff: Guitar / Vocals
Anton Lisovoj: Bass / Vocals
Michael Kadnar: Drums

Over 15 years, Germany’s Downfall Of Gaia have carved a unique space in the metal scene, evolving naturally and unafraid to take risks. With sixth album Silhouettes Of Disgust they progress in part by looking backwards and returning to familiar territory. “With this record we wanted to return to our roots and the earlier days, but without taking a step back,” says vocalist/guitarist Dominik Goncalves dos Reis. “We wanted to incorporate both worlds into our new album, where we came from – the DIY/crust punk scene – and the direction things have taken over the past few years, organically growing from release to release.” The result is best described as a textured, dynamic blend of crust punk and post-black metal with a lot of atmospheric elements, taking everything that ever made the band compelling and pushing it in new and gripping directions.

With the return of guitarist Peter Wolff, who left the band in 2015 to focus on family and other pursuits, the writing process was much more streamlined than the sixteen months spent penning 2019′s Ethic Of Radical Finitude. “We started in October 2021 and went into the studio in April 2022, and having Peter back – who founded Downfall Of Gaia together with Anton (Lisovoj, bass/vocals) and I in 2008 – was the big difference this time. For Ethic Of Radical Finitude and Atrophy (2016) I prepared all the guitars by myself – before the four of us started working on all the details – which is a much longer way of working than doing everything as a couple.” Wanting to keep things short and simple but straight in the listener’s face, the record does not feature the eight to ten minute epics of their more recent releases and is indeed punchier, with a lot of classic d-beat drumming driving the action, as on opener “Existence Of Awe” and the surging “Unredeemable”. They have also expanded their sonic palette with the inclusion of synths for the first time, and female vocals courtesy of Lulu Black, who collaborates with drummer Michael Kadnar in industrial/gothic project This Is Oblivion, making her voice familiar to the band members.

The album title is derived from the narratives driving the songs, focusing on the stories of eight different people, as residents of a fictional metropolis, each with their own worries and struggles. “Loneliness, addiction, the fear of tomorrow, pressure from society/work and others, things that many of us probably know all too well,” explains Goncalves dos Reis. “You have to play along somehow or you fall through the cracks, and once you’re down, it’s hard to get back up. It looks at selfishness and ignorance, the general way of dealing with each other – you’re one, surrounded by millions, surrounded by all these silhouettes of disgust, surrounded by the things you want to avoid and hate. The last few years have impressively proven what you can expect from humanity – and honestly, it’s not much.” Accordingly, “The Whir Of Flies” focuses on a person who finds escape and inner peace in addiction, fleeing reality and everyday life if only for a moment, and is trapped in a never-ending downward spiral, while “Eyes To Burning Skies” is about mental illness and the fact that thinking rationally isn’t always the right way to live, and that the disparity between an individual’s outer and inner lives can be profound.

Planning on working with producer Timo Höcke at Die Wellenschmiede studio in Hamburg, a few days before recording was due to commence Höcke unfortunately contracted Covid. “Due to schedules, family matters and private life, the planned time frame was the only chance to record the album without losing several months, so with drums tracked in New Jersey at Backroom Studios together with Kevin Antreassian, we ended up recording the rest of the album alone in Peter’s studio in Hamburg. After recording guitars, bass and vocals we went to Die Wellenschmiede for one day – as it was actually planned – and re-amped our own recordings, with Timo handling the mix and Jonas Romann (Chaos Compressor Club) mastering the record.” The hardest aspect of tracking the album was the limited timeframe and the need to meet tight deadlines, but nothing about Silhouettes Of Disgust sounds rushed or forced, standing as perhaps the strongest addition to their catalogue, and opening doors for future releases. With a very relaxed attitude as to how their work is accepted – “We don’t want to force anyone. If people are into it – cool. If not, also fine” – there is no denying that the band are both writing and playing at the top of their game, and only bolstering their standing as a distinctive, powerful and exciting force in contemporary metal.

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