Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
After dropping two albums in the space of three years in the mid “aughts,” Swedish grinders Gadget went largely silent for the better part of a decade – save for a split with Phobia in 2010 and the odd tour or festival appearance. Well that silence is over and in a big way with the band's aptly titled third album.
The Great Destroyer is a tornadic 17-song outing that whistles by in just over 26 minutes – and that's factoring in the two-part 5:31 closer “I Don't Need You - Dead And Gone” - while crushing everything in its path. Despite its furious pace, guitarists Rikard Olsson and William Blackmon – who is one busy dude here, also flailing away on the drums and serving as part of a scream-and-growl vocal tag team with Emil Englund – deliver plenty of crashing riffs and groove to make this more than just so much noise.
Gadget obviously have learned a thing or two from Napalm Death – whose frontman Barney Greenway guests on the 39-second blip “Violent Hours (For A Veiled Awakening)” – about song craft. They give their grindcore plenty hardcore brute force and tenacity and death metal heft that keeps things not only constantly engaging but comparatively varied. Brief as they are in most cases – typically about a minute each – the songs actually seem like “songs,” with hooks aplenty and even some melody in the loosest sense.
The band do break character in several spots, notably with the doomy slog of “In The Name of Suffering” - a relative epic at 2:13 – and in the dissonant trudge of the back half of “I Don't Need You - Dead And Gone,” which serves to reinforce the album's jarring heaviness. Thanks to its thick, yet resoundingly clean production - and Gadget's emphatic, nitro-fueled performance - The Great Destroyer is as punishing as it is explosive.
Let's hope we don't have to wait another decade for a repeat performance.