Downfall Of Gaia used to be one of the best d-beated and grinding Crust-acts from Germany at the end of the last decade; fans might remember the strong Epos-album (2010) or the band’s 2009 split with the Frenchmen of Kazan. Last year’s split with In The Hearts Of Emperors noticed an evolution into more complex and progressive-modern Metal spheres, and this transformation has now been translated sonically with Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes, which lasts for almost one hour.
Downfall Of Gaia’s permanent and imminent evolution gets clear as from the very first moments of Suffocating In The Swarms Of Cranes. The opening riffs of the first song (the instrumental Vulnus) rather bring an obscure Underground Black Metal band to mind, the blasting second part a dark-edged mixture of grim Death and Black Metal at the same time; the last part of this opener is much slower again and injects elements from Doom and Doom-Black, going for both melody and atmosphere. Yet it isn’t but an instrumental opening song, so as from the second hymn, Drowning By Wing Beats, the whole system appears like the pieces of a puzzle naturally creating a totalitarian picture. You might still detect the initial Crust-elements (for example the first notes of In The Rivers Bleak or Beneath The Crown Of Cranes), but the influences from different angles have been worked out so intensively and ingeniously. Post-Hardcore, Sludge, Black and Doom Metal, Deathcore, much more melodic (even with some (semi-) acoustic guitars) but at least as intense as before, and above all: much more suffocating, bleak and oppressive, that’s what this second full length stands for.
The song writing is fabulous (and so is the concretisation of the songs too, of course), and never before, there was this well-balanced variety in tempo and structure. The haunting, funereal atmosphere and the rough, unpolished yet nicely mixed sound are additional surpluses, and the long duration of the hymns does not bore at all.