Gideon’s May 2017 release Cold takes a bit of attention and possibly several listens to really get a grasp on what’s going on, beyond simply churning out mosh worthy breakdowns.
The album is a prime example of what Gideon does best, with the band long carrying a reputation for physically intense music, but it doesn’t initially come across as anything necessarily all that different from albums both in Gideon’s back catalog and in the catalog of bands similar in style to them. Gideon sometimes attempts to style themselves as a “meaning-infused” band, but that’s not immediately clear when first turning on Cold.
Although the album would perhaps easily hold the attention of someone who falls on the more devoted end of the heavy music spectrum, for others, who perhaps wanted to give heavier music a try and picked Cold to listen to, it’s likely that the album wouldn’t hold their attention. The album really comes together, lyrically and musically, by the instrumental title track, which comes about halfway through the album.
This kind of turmoil between producing something original and producing something that could be described, perhaps, as more raw is something that the members of Gideon were conscious of while writing and recording Cold. They’ve acknowledged, for instance, that the album’s second track, ‘Cursed,’ which features Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose, has lyrics that are more negative than the band traditionally employs. Garris sings, for instance, “I’m starting to break from bending; A losing streak that’s never ending.”
Indeed; for the musical aspect to Cold to not be remarkably unique isn’t necessarily a negative. In the album’s context, it goes along somewhat with the narrative line, which covers, in a broad sense, the struggle to break free from life circumstances holding you down. For the band to still be chugging along is remarkable enough in of itself.
What feels like a summary of the album’s “point” comes in the ninth track, ‘Walk Alone.’ In that song, Daniel McWhorter sings: “‘This is the choice I made; To walk alone and embrace the pain; Born this way, die this way; Renegade.”
There’s a decidedly dark undertone to the album, and it will surely connect with a subset of intense heavy music fans. Dark undertones are somewhat of a staple in the music scene that Gideon is a part of. Cold does what it’s ostensibly meant to do and it does it well. It doesn’t break any new boundaries, but those boundaries might not have ever even been relevant to Gideon in the first place.
Notably, there’s a somewhat political point in the album, when McWhorter sings on ‘Scapegoat’: “You have no power; Racist coward; No power; Racist coward.” The latter half of the album, where ‘Scapegoat’ is found, features intensely personal lyrics, such as “My father told me this is how it would be; But you never see it coming when you’re seventeen; Time marches on with the fading faces; The only thing that stays the same is; Everything changes” in the song ‘Thick or Thin.’ These intensely personal lyrics definitely help bring the album together.