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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gideon - "Milestone" Review

Gideon - Milestone
Facedown Records
Genre:  Hardcore

Band's Facebook

Daniel McWhorter (vocals)
Daniel McCartney (guitar)
Blake Hardman (guitar)
Timmy Naugher - (bass)
Jake Smelley - (drums)

1. Gutter (3:50)
2. Bad Blood (2:44)
3. No Acceptance (2:51)
4. Overthrow (2:44)
5. Prodigal Son (2:53)
6. Mask (2:36)
7. Still Alive (3:04)
8. Milestone (3:02)
9. Maternity (2:56)
10. Coward (2:34)
11. Faceless (4:01)

Gideon turned heads with their debut album Costs, partially because the album was fairly unique in a sub-genre where mediocrity often appears to be the status-quo.  I was eagerly looking forward to their second record Milestone, expecting them to continue in this vein.  Instead I was met by a chug-chug [insert generic breakdown] chug-chug sophomore effort that is the epitome of slumps.  The melodic choruses that were enjoyable on Costs manage to fade in the background and become completely forgettable on Milestone for the most part.  Gideon does have raw talent, but unfortunately it seems like they squandered it with this effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard far worse albums.  But as your mind enters the doldrums and you are assaulted by a monotonous tone, tempo, and song structure, you might want to pinch yourself to stay awake.
So where did the band go wrong?  The most obvious mistake is that Gideon uses breakdowns about as much as Gandhi advocated peace.  In other words, they use them on every single song, and sometimes even multiple times.  In general, this isn’t just a problem with Gideon—unfortunately, it has become the practice rather than the exception in hardcore.  Gideon uses the same song structure for most of the album.  Interspersed between the breakdowns are chugging guitars, a few choruses, and some gang vocals.  More variation would have been welcome.  But that’s not the biggest problem.  There are moments in a few songs that should be stand-out experiences, but they are generally buried by monotone screaming and two-dimensional drumming.  Don’t be afraid to fashion a song with the chorus as the centerpiece and portions of melody as garnish.  A few times there is a nice atmosphere that is achieved by the guitars, but it is drowned out and doesn’t linger.  

There are a few moments that do stand out.  No Acceptance has some interesting variations in vocals and a rather ominous guitar outro.  Prodigal Son has a solid bass line and a staccato guitar riff that is reminiscent of As Hell Retreats.  Even though it’s short, the song Maternity features a strong chorus and a catchy rhythmic guitar line.  Oddly enough, the standout song on the album may very well be the title-track Milestone, which is an atmospheric instrumental.  The band shouldn’t be afraid to show their melodic creativity.  Overall, the production quality of the album is good.  The artwork is pretty killer, too.
            The final verdict?  Long time fans of the band should at least give the album a listen, and will no doubt find some sections of it enjoyable.  However, if you’re looking for innovation in hardcore, Gideon’s sophomore album may not be the place to look.  Sure, they’ve created a Milestone.  But is it one that they truly want in their discography?

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 10.0 (Good)
Musicianship:  5.5 out of 10.0 
Song structure:  4.0 out of 10.0
Album structure:  4.5 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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