Goes Cube – Another Day Has Passed [Album]

Originally published at Sonic Dice, July 2009

It’s a pretty hollow exercise trying to shoehorn Goes Cube into any genre, or sub-genre, or indeed any plethora of sub-genres. Probably the most obvious touchstone for Another Day Has Passed is hardcore punk, but the musicianship suggests a thrash metal categorisation would be more accurate. Most solos are sufficiently metal-sounding, but also very brief; and whilst there are double-kick bass drums present, the Brooklyn three-piece don’t employ blastbeats, leading back to the punk side of things. Guitarist and vocalist David Obuchowski’s the choppy riffs are frequently reminiscent of post hardcore, but it’s truly surprising when this gives way to a twiddly classic rock solo, as in Urbana-Champaign. The rolling bass kicks churning underneath this section suggest an intentional blurring of genre, with classic rock meeting hardcore whilst intersecting with metal. The fact that the band play games with convention and with the listener makes Goes Cube’s avant-garde aspects all the more thrilling; it’s interesting to have your expectations played with in such a way. Another Day Has Passed really does come at you from all angles. It’s a dense listen, taking the form of a tightly-knit live band mounting a complete assault upon the audience, never stopping to introduce the next song. Some tracks merge into one another – as in the case of Restore and The Only Daughter – with only a brief drum intro to tell them apart; it’s a clever tactic that only intensifies the experience.

Bluest Sky introduces the album with a sub-two-minute salvo of unmitigated fury. It sounds a lot like Gojira in terms of sheer heaviness, coupled with the occasional Joe Duplantier-style serrated edge to Obuchowski’s vocals. It’s by far the most consistently heavy track, promising a brutal and bluntly pounding listen; however the album which unfolds does so defying such expectations. Bluest Sky acts as an extended introduction to Grinding the Knife Blade, with its classic post hardcore bunch-of-notes-bent-note-repeat riff, which piles into a muscular breakdown. It is noticeably less heavy and metallic than the opener, and what also rapidly becomes clear at this point is that Kenny Appell is an absolutely unbelievable drummer. His work behind the kit is particularly impressive on this track; tirelessly energetic, furiously rhythmic and astoundingly creative, Appell throws around fills galore and double bass kicks like asteroids hitting your roof. Some tracks are positively made by the drums, filling massive spaces left by the other instruments in the more chilled-out Restore like a giant stomping around inside a cathedral. Goes Cube Song 57 also boasts fantastic drumming in the intro, elbowing its way to near the front of the mix; a spiralling guitar riff does its best to distract, but the drums steal the show here. The bass puts in an equally impressive shift (Matthew Frey, playing on this album, recently left the band on good terms and was replaced by Matt Tyson), rumbling ominously in the background of I Hold Grudges. It is subversive yet deadly, as if the guitars are the bombs but the bass is the distant roar of the B-52 delivering its payload.

Saab Sonnet is initially reminiscent of something as distant as The Pioneers by Bloc Party or perhaps White Lies in its sustained tremolo picking. It proceeds to shoulderbarge into a breakdown before dropping into a deceptively mellow verse, demonstrating a punk ‘loud-quiet-loud’ sensibility. The apocalyptic riffing matches its lyrical subject matter, “I used to dream of orange cars, while you were hearing falling stars” Obuchowski broods. Saab Sonnet in particular demonstrates something resonating throughout Another Day Has Passed, in that it sounds a little like Pelican. Not just because of the extensive wordless passages, nor in a negative way; Goes Cube are no clones and clearly don’t set out to be soundalikes. But if a comparison must be made in terms of riffs, guitar tone and song structure, Pelican probably come closest. In these terms Goes Cube also sound like the Melvins’ more energetic moments such as The Talking Horse or Honey Bucket, particularly in The Only Daughter’s bridge and Clenching Jaws’ eyeblink tempo change. The careening riff of Clenching Jaws wouldn’t be out of place on any of Iron Maiden’s finest albums, and its galloping rhythm suggests something between heavy metal and Muse’s Knights of Cydonia. Goes Cube at times recall Deftones slightly, although it’s really very difficult to pinpoint why exactly. Perhaps it’s the occasional sparseness to their arrangements – Restore’s flanged, quasi-guitarless verses and the clean, three-chord intro to Urbana-Champaign – plus the tectonic shifting of their songs structures that draws the comparison.

With regard to Goes Cube’s lyrics, criticising or indeed analysing them in any detail is missing the point entirely. Harrison Ford once said in an interview about Blade Runner, “There was nothing for me to do but stand around and give some vain attempt to give some focus to Ridley [Scott]’s sets”. The words of Another Day Has Passed function similarly; they essentially stop the album being instrumental, and simply provide something phonetically cool for David Obuchowski to scream. The lyrics spar with the listener at times, like a boxer feigning with his left only to take your head off with his right. By the time you’ve worked out what the previous line was, you’re already flat on your back with several tonnes of powerchords raining down upon you. That said, Back To Basics’ cat-calling repeated lines are extremely effective, “Dismantle, break it down, to its most elemental form,” Obuchowski insists before the album’s most memorable but intentionally-simple chorus line is screamed, “Back to base! Back to basics!”. A Fugazi reference? Perhaps. It also could be the album’s highlight, but is certainly the most accessible track, complete with both melody and yawning chasms of distortion. Plus the aforementioned chorus really is awesome. So whilst Another Day Has Passed isn’t quite the metallic beast suggested by Bluest Sky, the palm-muted passages of Goes Cube Song 57 really are punishingly, crushingly heavy.

On the negative side, tucked away at the back end of the album, Victory could be cited as the weakest track. It particularly suffers in comparison to the preceding two pristinely-produced tracks, which sound devastatingly precise and immediate, the rhythm section threatening to jump right out of your speakers. However, the muddy quality of Victory disappointingly lends it the feeling of a demo. Here Goes Cube seem to attack with a wet rug, and not the much more lethal weapons brandished previously; it’s still an assault, but perhaps a less intimidating one. Additionally, the final 8-minute title track – although it displays the band’s range – is a pretty bare-faced Mastodon rip-off, all guitar flicks and gallivanting rhythms. And the near-minute of cacophonous feedback with which Another Day Has Passed closes is a pretty arbitrary attempt at an ‘epic’ ending. But these are minor gripes indeed, as a whole the album is superb. It looks doubtful that the UK has been making impressed-enough noises to get Goes Cube on tour over here yet. The shoebox venues they’ll inevitably have to play are guaranteed an earth-shaking show. So shout louder.

Sonic Dice score: 5 out of 6.

9 out of 10.

The End Records
Goes Cube on Myspace
Goes Cube on Last.fm


2 Responses to “Goes Cube – Another Day Has Passed [Album]”

  1. Hey very nice blog!! I will bookmark your blog and take the RSS feeds also

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