For six years now, Salt Lake City abrasive noisecore band Gaza have combined cacophonous blastbeats, angular death metal riffs and trudging rhythms into an unrelenting barrage of hostility aimed at squarely organized religion. The band’s third album, No Absolutes in Human Suffering, shows no end to the biting animosity. “It sure was nice of Jesus to take time away from ignoring ethnic cleansing genocide and famine-bloated children,” roars vocalist Jon Parkins over a bed of pummeling drums and buzzsaw guitars on “The Truth Weighs Nothing.”
Gone is the sarcasm and black humor of songs like “Slutmaker” and “Carnivore,” replaced with the lyrics that crucify zealots while echoing futility of the human condition. No Absolutes in Human Suffering isn’t Gaza’s fastest album, but it’s their heaviest and bleakest. Blunt and brutal, the band locks into a variety of menacing grooves with the help of accomplished producer Kurt Ballou, who plays guitar in Converge and has twiddled knobs for Torche, High on Fire and countless others. Gaza have always experimented with dynamics, but never as effectively as on No Absolutes. Halfway through the album closer, “Routine and Then Death,” the screaming abruptly stops, as if Parkins doesn’t have the strength to continue, and all that’s left is a melancholy arpeggio backed with spare beats and pulsing waves of feedback reminiscent of Jesu. While it’s not the most inviting listen, for the volume junkies who share Gaza’s aesthetic, it’s a masterfully rendered depiction a society gone to hell and the dusty, bone-strewn aftermath that awaits us all.