I really hate to start off a review by saying I’m not the most knowledgable fan of a particular genre, especially when it’s the genre of which record I’m discussing. It might be off-putting to fans of the genre or artists, but at the same time I feel it’s important to level with the reader. So I’ll start by saying, that first and foremost, I’m not what you would call a heavy metal aficionado. In my teen years I listened to a lot of heavier stuff but that was probably on some kind of superficial, teen angst level. Now in my early 30s, the only real metal I find myself listening to, are the releases I can either respect on a technical level or the kind that I can understand coming from a legitimate artist standpoint and not the “RAWR! We’re metal!!!” stereotype that has infected mainstream rock radio over the past fifteen years.
With that said, my lack of exposure to the scene generally keeps myself the last person to discover some truly great acts. Sometimes it’s Oozing Wound or Neurosis, but this time it’s Goes Cube.
The Brooklyn based metal band gained momentum in the mid 2000s with a handful EPs and two LPs, earning a reputation with their eclectic combination of sub-genres like metal, grunge and avant-punk. In the 2011 the band went on an indefinite hiatus so each member of the band could purse other projects. However with so much respect from the indie metal community, Goes Cube felt simply fading away would be an unjust ending to their run, so they got back together to put out one more album and subsequent tour before officially calling it a day.
The result is Shadows Swallowed The Floods, a heavy metal opus that features all of the attitude and artistry of their previous LPs and EPs in a one furious, ten-track farewell album.
Once again combining elements from just about every sub-genre of hard rock, Goes Cube channels early Mastodon, Torche and even a bit of Fugazi. There are a few tracks later in the album (“Crohn’s Attack” in particular) that have an almost Slayer vibe in vocals. Even with all these influences popping up here and there, this record still comes off fresh and unique. It’s not that the band rips off bits and elements from other bands, it’s more about finding the best parts of such a broad genre of music and bringing them in together in one collection.
My favorite aspect of the album is their ability to effectively maneuver between jaw breaking intensity and subtle vulnerability. Of course Goes Cube isn’t the only band to utilize tempo changes in metal, but I can’t think of any other release in recent years that does it this well. For example, in under three minutes “The Stand” goes from a beautiful clean guitar melody to head-spinning spoken proto-punk spoken word refrains, to break-neck thrash! It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album and pretty much sums up what the album and band have to over as a whole.
It’s a shame the band is calling it quits once the supporting dates are fulfilled. After listening to their other releases it sounds like the band has given listeners the tightest and most confident release in their catalog. A band who started with a drum machine for live shows, ending with one of the greatest heavy releases of the year. No matter what musical endeavors each member decide to pursue, they can look back at Shadows Swallowed The Flood as a satisfying conclusion to a short but prolific career and a fitting farewell to career-long and new fans alike.
Shadows Swallowed The Flood is being released on vinyl exclusively through Greenway Records available in extremely limited numbers. A spatter variant limited to 200 copies, a black and silver ‘charred earth’ variant limited to 50 and even rarer ‘Toxic Waste’ variant, that’s probably already gone by the time this article is published!
I may not be the most educated fan of this genre, but I do know a good record when I hear it. Even though I’ve listened to Goes Cube for a short time, I’m sad to see them call it quits, but at least they’re leaving behind a solid collection of fast, aggressive, and satisfying heavy metal.
Shadows Swallowed The Flood is also available digitally through Old Flame Records
For more info on Goes Cube, visit them on Facebook