Downfall of Gaia
Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes

Germany’s Downfall of Gaia is a new act to me and one of Metal Blade’s more recent, under the radar signings, but I was curious about this release due to the artwork and creative album title resulting in me checking out the digital promo we received. And after only a few listens, it resulted in an instant purchase the next day.

Downfall of Gaia is one of those modern multi-genre bands that take bits of numerous influences; there’s some doom, post rock, hardcore, black metal, crust, sludge  and such. The end result is a creative, modern metal band that reminded me of a mix of Withered, Fall of Efrafa, Deafheaven and the newer style of Beyond Terror Beyond Grace, and it’s magnificent.

Look to the cover for sort of a visual analogy of the band’s tone- it’s both barren and sprawling with an epic, atmospheric feel and with hues of shimmery grey with occasional blusters of bleak,black metal winds. It’s a perfect album for the late, chilling evenings of the fall. The songs are often long ranging from 5-10 minutes and often build and ebb with atmospheric post rock patience and restrained marches before often peaking with a blackened crust expulsion. The vocals are a distant, hardcore bellows with an occasional pained screech and the production manifests in the different styles with a brittle but earthy, jangling tone that’s airy but delivers enough heft to impress.

As with most albums of this nature, it isn’t about quick catchy riffs or rapid satisfaction moments, it’s about payoff after  shimmery acoustic builds. Look no further than third track , “In the Rivers Bleak”, where after a tense build, the Beyond Terror Beyond Grace-like blasts burn with a blue intensity that’s black metal without being truly black. The album’s second  longest cut, “I Fade Away” starts with delicate acoustics before a stern, discordant hardcore lurch settles into a blissful atmospheric close out and rousing post rock peak. The title assumed track  “Beneath a Crown of Cranes” is the albums longest cut at almost 11  minutes and has a powerful hardcore meets doom mid section before a very intense, gravelly,  tremolo picked  assault. The foreboding penultimate track “Giving their Heirs to the Masses” shimmer with antagonistic crusty  melodies and while the ending climax is short live, its worth it.

There isn’t a dull moment of this release, even the moody parts are fraught with tension as  you wait for some sort of impending release whether its a hardcore crust beatdown or  breathtaking black hued blasting peak,  fraught with emotion. As a result of this superb balance and elegantly mixed delivery, Suffocating in Swarm of Cranes has  nudged its way into my very favorite releases of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 9th, 2012


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    sounds like a must-hear for me, I was a big fan of the new Beyond Terror Beyond Grace

  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    yeah- i think youll like this jordan

  3. Commented by: Luke

    I’m intrigued, sounds very interesting. I dig the cold, bleak atmospheres when done well.

  4. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    sounds rad.

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