Twenty one seconds into Modern Machines and you realize that Goddess Gagged are all about big, slick guitar noise. Following in the same vein as most modern metal/ hardcore bands (Circles, Dance Gavin Dance, The Devil Wears Prada… you should be getting my point by now), Resurfaces stands to be labeled as India’s very own – and very possibly, first – contribution to that bandwagon. It’s not an album that promises to become a cornerstone of Indian metal, at least not for me, because Resurfaces doesn’t have a recognizably homegrown feel to it, which is what I look for when I listen to an Indian metal band; that overwhelming taste of local brew which hits you on a Scribe or Exhumation or Bhayanak Maut album. Personal inflexibilities aside however, Resurfaces is a good fucking album; well written, well produced, and poised to cement the beliefs of many in Goddess Gagged as an extremely competent bunch of musicians.
Goddess Gagged are a self-proclaimed ‘progressive post-hardcore’ band. Here’s what Devesh Dayal mailed me a few months ago for a feature I wrote on them in Hindustan Times Café (yeah, I used to work there):
‘Progressive post-hardcore is the easiest way to describe us, but still isn’t entirely accurate. Basically, the progressive elements are there (weird time signatures, key changes, etc.) but it’s also got a modern rock/hardcore vibe… if you know what I mean.’
Like hell I know what he means. The modern hardcore edge sticks out all over this album. Resurfaces sounds like a conjunction between Cave In’s raw, dirty rendition of hardcore and the lustrous sounds of new age prog. It succeeds, more or less. Or at least it’s as sincere an attempt as Goddess Gagged could’ve made, so fuck it if they’re pushing for a more ‘international’ sound than the local heroes I look up to. The guitar parts are catchy as fuck. They work brilliantly over the unforced rhythm section, with Basrur’s vocals being the perfect add on. Tons of production value too, with a whole bunch of ambient layers and shit that keep you digging between the notes.
Trackwise, Visionary is the hot ticket. The album version is exponentially more narcotic on your ears than the freebie demo, and unlike its forebear, Inspire, the songwriting is gorgeous. So are the lyrics. Thematically speaking, the lyrics don’t offer much variety between the tracks, and Visionary seems to be just another love song, but it’s a great love song at that. Something I’d listen to after a lazy, contemplative fuck, maybe. And that’s a good thing, for both the song and the sex. Ok.
Conversely, Resurfaces suffers on the same fronts as an album by, say, A Day To Remember or Circa Survive. Catchy at times, plain uninspired at others.
With just seven tracks, Resurfaces might come off as a bit short, but it still touches a good forty minutes, ends with an impulsive, heartrending climax, and the seemingly undersized album doesn’t leave you feeling dissatisfied. Besides which, I don’t think GG are quite ready to compose sixty, seventy minute epics just yet. For now, I think they’ve made their statement. We’re listening. And we’re waiting for more.
Resurfaces releases 19th November. Keep your wallets open.