Grindcore, in short, is a relentless thrashing on the senses. At its best it revels in aural violence and at its worst is repulsive and unlistenable. Out of all the genres in metal this one is fairly unforgiving with little to no middle ground. Sweden’s Gadget, in quick succession, released two full lengths of grindcore that owed as much to death, doom and sludge as it did to its chosen genre. But that was ten years ago. The landscape has changed, however the band’s third full length The Great Destroyer shows that change doesn’t always mean a total scrapping of individual principles.
Bands such as Antigama and Unrest have pushed the walls of grindcore to the limit and beyond. Showing extreme technicality with the former and a heavy handed dose of barbaric death grind from the latter. Also, Gridlink exited stage left with their devastating final swansong. So is there still a place for Gadget after all this time? There was ten years ago and with one listen to the fiery vitriol spewed in the pair of “Violent Hours (For a Veiled Awakening)” and “The 02666 Heritage” there absolutely is still a place for them. This is the sound of a band hungry to be back at it and only Napalm Death could surpass the intensity on display through these two tracks.
Noticeable immediately is the crisp, clean production. Even at its fastest the sound spectrum is immense, every drum blast and crank of the guitar strings can be heard as easily as the harsh vocals. It’s almost too clean and, speaking for myself only, the dirty death metal production job on their debut Remote hit hard and left a lasting impression. Somewhere amidst the shiny, polished sound here they’ve lost a bit of the distorted edge that was an endearing trait early on. But muddy this album is not, particularly when things are slowed down, whether it be a d-beat melody (“Collapse”) or the doomy plod of “In the Name of Suffering”.
The band has always excelled at varying the blurred speed tempos with a little death metal here and a sludge section there and they stay true to form, but for the most part only in bite size pieces. That is, until the last lumbering half of the atmosphere heavy and slow, repeated riffs of “I Don’t Need You-Dead and Gone”. The band’s ability to rage with relentless speed, then swiftly deliver a gut punch of downtuned melody is indelibly their trademark and thankfully they haven’t lost a step in that regard.
With the just-over-the-top production issues aside, The Great Destroyer is a furiously quick and efficient return to form for Gadget. They don’t change their founding principles nor do they reinvent the wheel of grindcore but what they do, and do well, is continue to leave their personal mark on it. Whether due to internal issues or lack of spark that caused the long absence between full lengths, they have more than made up for the long wait. And 10 years on, should garner a new generation of fans looking for something a little different from the norm.