Christian hardcore acts are on the rise in the music scene. For Today
, The Great Commission
, Your Memorial
, Saving Grace
, and many other bands are taking the scene by storm, showing their religious faith through metallic hardcore tunes. Alabama quintet Gideon
stands as one of these bands. After forming in 2008 and releasing their debut self-titled EP in 2010, they became a new addition to the Facedown Records roster, on the same lineup as War Of Ages
, In The Midst Of Lions
, Onward To Olympas
, and plenty of others. Then, in 2011, Gideon
unleashed their full-length debut “Costs,” which garnered the attention of a fair amount of fans. It was a good Christian hardcore release that definitely could get a mosh pit going, but it wasn’t completely memorable. Afterwards, in 2012
, the quintet has released their sophomore full-length record entitled “Milestone.” Loaded
with 11 hard-hitting tracks, this album is packed with even more punches than the previous effort.
Honestly, the music in “Milestone” isn’t really anything new, but it’s very well done by this band. It consists of heavy, metallic, and furious hardcore, with a twist of melody in it. The quintet has taken the aggressiveness from “Costs” and enhanced it in “Milestone,” and the result is a much stronger and unrelenting release. “Prodigal Son” is one of the better examples of this. It’s filled with angry vocals, solid drumming, and punishing guitar riffs. The same can also be said for the song “Coward,” which is just packed with hardcore brutality. On the other hand, however, this album does occasionally have its softer side. “Still Alive
,” featuring Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan, is a mostly fast-paced track with a little melody, and “Maternity,” which features guest vocalist Justice
Tripp of Trapped Under Ice
, does have some clean hardcore singing in it. There is much angry heaviness in these particular songs nonetheless, so the record doesn’t lose flow. The beauty of this album is that while it is metallic hardcore rough-housing, it doesn’t see the overabundance in breakdowns, so it doesn’t lose too much steam. The music itself is quite dynamic, and the tracks are also rather distinct from each other, so the whole thing doesn’t start to completely fall apart and become stale. Another highlight for “Milestone” is the production; it is done incredibly well. Everything sounds clear without sounding too edited, and it gives the music overall a raw and thunderous tone to it. All in all, while “Milestone” isn’t perfect, the mosh-driving music in this record is much more solid than in their previous works, as well as being more memorable as a whole.
The lyrics and artwork are also strong in this record. The cover art shows a hawk with the head of a ferocious panther, holding a slab of stone in its talons in a stormy area. It really matches the music really well, and when people look at it, they know what they’re in for. As for the lyrics, while they are highly Christian-based, they all also tie together as the past experiences of the singer Daniel McWhorter, mostly involving his family. The tone is mostly angry, yet very grasping. The ones that stand out the most would be from the last three tracks: “Maternity,” “Coward,” and “Faceless.” They all seem to share the story of how one’s mother was tragically killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. The son has a deep-seated grudge against the drunk driver responsible for his mother’s death, but later appears to show some forgiveness, despite his rage. “Maternity” shows the son’s mourning, where he feels lost, hopeless, and alone after his mother was killed, while “Coward” angrily vows revenge towards the one who took the mother away from the world, thanks to his foolish drunk driving. Family is very important, and when one loses a member of his or her family, he or she becomes incredibly filled with pain and rage. The lyrics are incredibly realistic, which make them all the more impactful. However, despite the turmoil, in “Faceless,” it appears that the son has finally come to terms with his grief, where he concludes valiantly that he wasn’t the only one who was affected; even the one who took away his mother is in pain as well. The driver is also experiencing hell with the son because he has to live with the fact that he put a whole family in sadness because of his foolish decision to drive drunk. Realizing this, the son casts his anger aside, and tells the man “Just know that in my eyes, you are forgiven.” It’s a very touching way to end the story, and these lyrics do relate to the album title “Milestone,” where the son realizes he shouldn’t hold onto his grudge for so long, and he decides to move forward and progress in life. Overall, the lyrics in this album are as powerful as the music itself.
“Milestone” is a strong hardcore album that represents its genre nicely. As stated earlier, there is really nothing new that this band brings to the table in this record, and parts of the songs do tend to be a little repetitive. Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear that Gideon
has somewhat progressed from their last record “Costs.” It’s much bolder and more aggressive overall, the lyrics are realistic and powerful, and the sound production is excellent, making the music itself sound even better. There is also still plenty of melody in this record as there was in “Costs,” so there’s no need to worry that Gideon
has devolved into a band that blandly plays breakdowns every five seconds in their sophomore effort. Although jaded listeners may not be very impressed with the already-taken direction this band is going, fans of melodic hardcore will want to get their hands on this album; it’s definitely an awesome soundtrack for a large mosh pit. Hence the name of this record, “Milestone” is a small step forward for Gideon
’s hardcore march.