Gaza Breaks Up
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It appears that the Salt Lake City metalcore band Gaza has broken up. They posted the following message on their Facebook earlier today:
”Gaza is no longer a band. A big thank you to anyone that has supported us. Some of us will continue to make music together.”
As many folks have joked on various social media sites, Gaza is never coming back.
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I came to metal through punk rock: traditional punk at first, followed by hardcore, and then metalcore. The noisy, technical metalcore of the late ’90s and early ’00s—Botch, Converge, Burnt By the Sun, and so forth—was a crucial transition point for me as I felt my way into extreme metal. Backlash from the metal community eventually made “metalcore” a dirty word, and the style’s popularity collapsed. I never lost my affection for it.
That affection found a new object in Gaza, who formed in 2004, as mathy metalcore began to fade. They persisted through its dead years and helped to precipitate the minor resurgence in popularity that it is experiencing now. Strangely, Gaza were rarely saddled with the dreaded M-C word; press outlets of all stripes inexplicably preferred to describe them as grindcore, a style that they clearly did not play. No matter. The music, not the box we put it in, makes the band.
Regardless, Gaza’s music was loaded with phenotypes straight from Deadguy et al—noise chords, breakdowns, and a refreshing focus on real-world issues. Their density, complexity, and sheer force made them approachable for metal folk, but their social consciousness and stark intensity screamed “HARDCORE BAND”.
Gaza’s three albums were periodically brilliant but inconsistent. Like any real hardcore band, though, they were at their best when they played live. Gaza toured frequently, and I was lucky enough to catch their devastating sets on a number of occasions. I remember one oversold 2010 show at Brooklyn’s Acheron with particular clarity—looming frontman Jon Parkin waded through the crowd, batting at the glare of smartphone cameras and tossing grown men aside like children. Between songs, he singled out members of the audience and demanded that they confess their failings over the venue PA: “We all have our flaws,” he said. “What’s wrong with you?”
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Gaza’s flaw, it seems, was burning brightly but briefly. Fortunately, the members are not all without recourse. The Facebook post’s allusion to “continu[ing] to make music together” probably refers to Bird Eater, a like-minded metalcore band featuring Parkin alongside Gaza bandmates Chris Clement and Anthony Lucero. They will hopefully carry on the grim, good work that Gaza started.
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