Death Metal Underground

Gyre – Second Circle EP

by Brett Stevens
August 11, 2013 –

gyre-second_circleNew Jersey metalcore band Gyre has a surprise: not only are they not heavy metal, but they’re in fact alternative rock, and a very competent version of that hidden beneath the skin.

I guess sometimes it seems like it’s best to disguise what you’re doing as what everyone else is doing, but this seems puzzling to me, as if Gyre dropped the metalcore stylings and let loose their alternative band, I think they’d be in every record shop across the nation.

True, the surface is off-putting to a death metal fan. These are the emo-punk-style metalcore riffs, complete with fanning of power chords and a few odd voicings thrown in with the off-beat quicky rhythms that jump around like a protester having a tantrum. And the metalcore vocals, which wail-rant.

In fact, much of the surface metalcore could have come straight out of the 1990s and found commonality with bands like Pantera and Dillinger Escape Plan. It bounces, and then it creates a kind of plaintive lag, like someone getting arrested by the cops to make a point. Then it rebounds.

Underneath the surface, in a method reminiscent of Metallica’s …And Justice for All (subtitle: But We Get Paid Anyway), Gyre weaves melodies around the bittersweet narrowing of intervals that gave alternative rock its distinct whiny, resistant sound.

Second Circle will get dismissed by most because metalcore is already yesterday’s news. However, most metal fans haven’t found anything more compelling yet, so you speak to the audience you have, not the one you want, I guess. It’s a shame because these winding melodies, reminiscent of Nirvana or Stone Temple Pilots, grant to the music a depth and power it would not otherwise have had.

As a metal album, Second Circle wouldn’t really make sense. It barely fits as metalcore. But when you burrow under the skin, and stop worrying about whether it looks tough enough to your friends, there’s a lot to think about even in this short format.

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6 comments

  • fenrir

    I assume this is a recommendation of sorts.
    A certain degree of music-writing quality wrapped in a style that we do not respect too much.

  • Dionysus

    “However, most metal fans haven’t found anything more compelling yet…”

    I don’t know Brett I beg to differ. Quality releases in metal nowadays are rare, definitely, but they are out there, even if it’s mostly veteran bands putting them out. Electronic music, folk (both traditional and occasionally in its “neo” guise), Nick Cave style singer/songwriters, and of course, the eternal wellspring of Western “Classical” Music, are all far more compelling options than this whiny half-baked crap.

    Besides, metal is definitely in a better place now than it was at the beginning of the milllennium. We’re never having another explosion like the one in the late 80′s/early 90′s but we are, I believe, poised for a revival of sorts, in which quality releases will be generated at a slow but constant pace. I’d much rather stick to those few new releases that are worth it than settle for this.

  • Texan Death Metall

    I agree too, in fact there’s a great Texan death metal band called SEVERANCE that should be reviewed on this site. Ten thousand times better than Disma, Blaspherian or the sorts.

  • mike gainer reigns here

    I think Brett Stevens has jumped the shark. His recommendations are terrible and do NOT represent quality works. You don’t see prozak promoting shitty bands. Music died in the mid 90′s, sad but true.