I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Gideon the supervillain/record label owner from the Scott Pilgrim series? Well, yes, but that’s not the Gideon we’re talking about here. The topic of this review is Tuscaloosa, Alabama metalcore band Gideon, who also happens to be Facedown Records’ latest signing. Since 2008, Gideon has released two EPs which got the attention of the California label, who announced their signing earlier this year. Now they have arrived with their label debut Costs, a consistent record filled with exhilarating in-your-face metalcore, which is sure to propel the band to the top of the Christian metalcore scene.
It’s clear from the very beginning of Costs that this going to be an intense album and luckily, this is the case from start to finish. “Unworthy” (the first full track after the intro “Costs”) is a prime example of the amount of intensity and power that Gideon brings with them throughout all of Costs. The breakdowns are laid out perfectly throughout the track without ever seeming unnecessary while drummer Jake Smelley drives the song flawlessly, but the most valuable aspect of the band is frontman Daniel McWhorter, who delivers one hell of a performance. With commandment and confidence in his voice, McWhorter is the perfect vocalist for the band’s in-your-face brand of metalcore.
Most metalcore bands nowadays seem to have their guitarists and bass players simply for the sake of playing breakdowns. Gideon, however, does not settle for this. Guitarist Daniel McCartney and bassist Timmy Naugher both skillfully prove that they’re there for more than just chugging in songs like “False Profits” and “Brave New World”, in which it is mostly the two aforementioned instruments that drive and give personality to the tracks.
That’s not to say that the breakdowns aren’t punishing. “Foundation”, which is heavily aided by the production of Brian Hood, provides better breakdowns than most bands who spend their entire albums trying to come off as heavy. Hood is clearly aware that when you’re producing a metalcore band, the key is to make the heavier moments as heavy hitting as possible. This is a song that will without a doubt get the crowd moving at shows.
Another aspect that brings in an air of freshness and professionalism to Costs is the inclusion of clean singing. It may sound weird for a band of Gideon’s kind to employ this element to their music, but the band really knows how to utilize it. In fact, “Unworthy” and “Foundation” stand as two of the album’s strongest tracks due to the variety and personality the clean singing brings with it. Gideon most definitely knows how to use the sing/scream formula to their advantage, and they do it without seeming like they are trying to appeal to double demographics.
The downside of Costs comes with its short run; the album clocks in at less than 30 minutes and only includes 9 songs (and one of them is an intro), and it leaves the listener wanting more. Another problem is that the lyrics tend to get somewhat preachy, which can make them very untreatable to those who are not of the Christian faith.
For their debut, Gideon has done a lot more than a good job, they have done exactly what a debut should do. Gideon has introduced themselves as a band to look out for, without overstaying their welcome. They are sure to rise to the top of the Christian metalcore scene, and with good reason too. Costs is an album that should not be disregarded by fans of the genre.