Review: Gone Is Gone – Echolocation

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I am absolutely pathetic when it comes to keeping track of new releases. I often browse through the Toilet’s numerous posts highlighting such material, making notes to return to various releases on Bandcamp and such and then neglecting to. Inevitably, when the end of the year arrives, which my calendar informs me was quite recently, I scroll through the end of year lists of various Toileteers and remember that I have, once again, failed at keeping up with awesome new music. But alas, new year means new me, right?! To hell with all those posers who are going to spend two months in the gym and then quit. I’ll spend those months in front of computer, actually keeping up with new music…and hopefully I won’t quit. For now at least, I’m still on the horse, and I’m here to tell you my thoughts about the new album, and first full-length, from Gone Is GoneEcholocation.

For those who don’t know or remember, Gone Is Gone is the (TRIGGER WARNING: LOADED WORD INCOMING) supergroup formed by Mastodon‘s bassist and singer Troy Sanders, along with Troy Van Leeuwan (Queens of the Stone Age), Tony Hajjar (At the Drive-In), and multi-instrumentalist Mike Zarin (source!). Prior to Echolocation, the band released a roughly 30-minute self-titled EP back in July 2016. I enjoyed it, but didn’t find it remarkable enough to keep on listening, and certainly wasn’t itching to put the release on any form of year-end list. In short, I feel roughly the same way about Echolocation. If you will allow it, I’ll explain further.

The first thing you’ll notice with Gone Is Gone is how dominant Sanders’ bass is. I don’t see this as a problem, as I genuinely enjoy his bass playing and get tired of rock and metal acts hiding their bass guitars deep in the mix. It’s not that the guitars are too low, it’s more just that Sanders’ bass seems to be the driving force on many of the songs on the album. At times, the bass and guitar are playing almost the same riff and they really blend together. Overall, the production is really emphasizing that low end and giving the guitars an almost wall-of-sound vibe. It’s not quite as wall-of-sound as some material from Devin Townsend (or, for a slightly older crowd, some Phil Spector-produced material), but it definitely feels somewhat…er…”wall-ish,” I guess. It doesn’t make the listening experience unenjoyable, although it does make it hard for individual tracks to stand out to me.

The album starts off slow, with a relatively atmospheric introduction on “Sentient.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Zarin has done a lot of soundtrack work for film trailers and video games. However, to me, it clashes with the wall-of-sound production. It takes awhile for us to get into the riffs. Atmosphere is great, but I personally feel it works better when utilizing a production style that allows for a little more dynamic. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the atmospheric parts of the album, it’s that the production causes them to blend together and makes the songs feel less memorable.

It’s not until the third track, “Resurge,” that I feel the album really kicks into high gear. It’s got a little more drive to it, and the riffs definitely stand out, especially in the intro and outro. Then it’s quiet again for the next track, “Dublin,” before picking it up for the next two. This is generally my experience with Echolocation. My mind starts to wander during the atmospheric sections before being hooked back in by a good riff a song or two later. I don’t want to knock Sanders and co. for branching out musically. This album escapes the usual supergroup pitfall of sounding like a mash-up of the various members’ bands. It does, in fact, feel quite fresh. However, the songs themselves are not truly captivating. Sanders’ vocals work for the haunting and atmospheric vibe that the group is going for, but he is simply too monotonous, which doesn’t allow the listener to get hooked on any track in particular.

Regardless, I still enjoyed my time with this album. It’s a good change of pace from each of the member’s main bands, and I have to say that the idea and concept is there. The visuals, album art and videos included, work well with the music and create an identity totally separate from Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age, or At the Drive-In. It is not especially metal, but it does have a heavy and brooding vibe that should appeal to the fans of those bands while simultaneously offering something fresh. If those are bands you dig, especially Mastodon given Troy’s prominent vocals here, I would definitely recommend checking out Echolocation. My favorite track, by far, is “Pawns,” which pulls together the memorable riffs with some especially punishing drums and dense atmosphere. Check it out in the video below. Yep.

3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hellish Dankness

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You can get Gone Is Gone’Echolocation, which was released by Rise Records, from wherever it is you get music, but here’s their official site that lists all those places.

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  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    RUSTY MF SHACKLEFORD!

    Nice review, my dude. I didn’t even know this band was a thing so i may have to give it a check.

    Yep!

    • Bit of a southern/stoner vibe that might appeal to you. Because you are a poser.

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        A) good to know
        B) not a poser
        C) I see you’re back to having no arms

  • This band isn’t quite my thing I don’t think, but I actually still really enjoy the Killer Be Killed album. Some of it’s kinda cavemannish but still it’s one catchy song after another with a really cool mix of different vocalists.

    • RustyShackleford

      It’s definitely totally different from Killer Be Killed. I actually still enjoy that album too. The cavemannish parts seem to be Cavalera, he just seems not as strong on that album. Still a good jam though!

  • Pentagram Sam

    Rustyyyyyyy

    This review got me thinking man (glad to see you do a writeup)

    Is “sentient” the trendy buzzword in metal / rock music these days? Allaggeon or whatever and their “Proponent for Sentience” , this band, Perturbator, several bands with Sentient or Sentience in the name. It just seems like one of those “things” people do without realizing it,

    When Rings of Saturn was all the buzz it seemed like everything had a Saturn hard on. Multiple variations of ___ of Saturn and even messed around a bit with some guys who had a project based off a moon of Saturn.

    Also like “veil” was a big one not too long ago.

    “Veil” of Maya, Pierce the “Veil”, Black “Veil” Brides.

    Dont mean to hijack man, but seeing a band like this use the term Sentience got the wheels turning

    • Space Monster W.

      I think the preponderance of “Sentience” could be seen as a general reflection of pop culture and the rising popularity of AI/futurist concepts. Non-tech folks know who Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley guys are, so I think a sort of collective question of sentience and identity is being raised.

      • Pentagram Sam

        Yea, trendy is a bit of a loaded word. “Topical” would be more like it. But yea, you’re right cos even the term Uncanny Valley gets thrown about all over the place now and that’s popping up in music too.

      • Spear

        The thought of the general public pondering and reacting to the notion of creating artificial sentience (there it is again) is both fascinating and terrifying. I’d like to think that it marks some sort of cultural elevation or progression, but I feel like the majority of people who didn’t look at it with pure apathy would greet it with fear or contempt.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      As long as Witch, Black, Dark, Anal, and Vomit are still good, I’ll sleep like a fucking baby.

    • RustyShackleford

      I never thought of this but definitely interesting. I think that sentience is good because it’s somewhat literary (as is “veil,” I would argue). It can relate to different strands of philosophy, but has definitely become more relevant in recent decades due to the theories and possibilities of A.I. Also it just kinda has a good ring to it.

  • Space Monster W.

    Thanks for the review, Rusticle. Always glad to see your name around here.

  • Crocodylus★Pontifex

    I’m checking this out, as I wasn’t aware they already have a second album. “Dublin” is hitting the spot with an A Perfect Circle-meets-NIN vibe. Is Troy Sanders the main vocalist? If he is, he’s almost unrecognizable, in a good way. Why doesn’t he just take Mastodon main vocal duties at this point?

    • RustyShackleford

      The release surprised me too! Sanders is definitely the main vocalist here. He sounds good, he’s probably the best singer in Mastodon, but I have to say Brann Dailor is pretty good and nails it live. Hinds on the other is…well it’s personal preference but I’ve heard him butcher some songs live haha

      • Crocodylus★Pontifex

        I’m not a fan of Hinds voice most of the time. I wish Brann would try to work in the King Diamond vocals into Mastodon somehow haha

  • Eliza

    I remember when their first EP came out and told myself I would listen to it, but didn’t. I like these people’s other work, but I didn’t find the one or two songs off of that EP that I heard anything particularly good. I’ll give this album a shot, though. Seems to be a little bit better.

    • Joaquin Stick

      Agreed, when the EP came out I was expecting to at least like it a little bit, but ended up being on the bad side of indifferent. This seems to be a little step up, but still don’t love it.

    • Dumpster Lung

      I felt the same way. Heard a song or two from the self-titled (didn’t even realize it was only an EP) and wasn’t really loving it. I am digging Pawns, although I feel like I’ll regret hitting play on that one first, as the rest may not live up to that one 😛

      I remember really being unimpressed by Giraffe Tongue Orchestra at first, but mainly because the single they released didn’t really sound like the rest of the album at all, and that one did grow on me for sure once I heard the whole thing.

  • This is some great not-so-heavy metal, ideal for work listening. I dig the songs you posted.
    Well, I really dig them! They’re growers. Yep.

  • Black Unbeard

    i wish i used echolocation

  • Waynecro

    These jams aren’t for me, but I really like your review. Awesome work, Rusty! Thanks!

  • Old Man Doom

    Nice review, Mr. Shackleford. I’ve been getting majorly antsy for the new Mastoalbum to drop while all these side-projects get done.

    “Pawns” is indeed pretty killer

    • Space Monster W.

      I was on some random doom band’s bandcamp the other day, and lo and behold, there you were.

      • KyleJMcBride

        I think he has comments on pretty much every BC purchase in my collection. ^_^

  • Spear

    Great review, Rusty. I think your overall assessment of the album is spot-on, but I believe I both enjoy the atmospheric bits and am bothered by Troy’s somewhat flat delivery a little more than you.