Random Records with Steve O
Gouge Away - ,DiesSteve O - April 25, 2016
,Dies. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of another record that features a comma in such a significant position. I supposed we could concentrate on it, but after 12 seconds of feedback, you’re immediately distracted by something else. The blazing fury of “Bleed,” the opening, bombastic 35 seconds of ,Dies. Gouge Away have created an incredibly intense and visceral debut record. It’s in your face from the second the feedback gives way and doesn’t let up throughout 13 aggressive and energetic spurts. This is hardcore that veers into the powerviolence and grindcore territories. Yeah, occasionally songs feel different, like the slower, almost muted feel of “Who Needs Language” or the uplifting, almost poppy, vibe of album closer (and longest song) “Wildflowers.” Otherwise, the Gouge Away crew are perfectly adept at holding nothing back in their attempt to annihilate you. Whether it’s the shouts of “Fuck off / Get out / Eat shit” at the end of “Exhibit: Closed” or the lyrical bluntness of “No White Flag,” ,Dies is uncomfortable in the best ways possible.
Back on the 2014 bracket, Punch’s final record They Don't Have to Believe did quite well. I feel a lot of Punch vibe in Gouge Away. Hardcore punk that’s equally at home in grindcore and powerviolence circles, both write profound and extreme songs, musically and lyrically. Both have a powerful female voice that forces you to listen. Vocalist Christina Stijy gives an incredibly passionate performance here. You can sense the emotion carried on every line, every shout, every rapid lyrical blast. Both Punch and Gouge Away have important message to tell too, as Gouge Away does masterfully here. Whether it’s about animal rights in “Uproar,” the modern education system in “Subtract & Divide,” or community and belonging in “Wildflowers,” they use the platform given to them to share their message. The animal rights message here is probably the most powerful and emotional. Led off with the spoken word of “Until Every Cage is Empty,” Gouge Away makes sure you get the message in just over a minute of “Uproar.” “I’ve got bolts in my neck but I’m no monster / I’ve got bolts in my head but I’m no monster / I’m not made for your science experiment / I’m not made for your science experiment /Stop testing on me.” Everything’s repetitive enough that it’s easy to sing along, and you’ll want to, and repetitive enough that there’s no way you can miss the message.
I randomly stumbled upon Gouge Away; I think it was because I noticed someone compared them to Punch, and I just had to give them a listen. Definitely a brilliant choice. ,Dies has been in constant rotation since then. Emotional and intense, it drags you right in and at the end, all you want is more. I would absolutely love to see the South Floridians live sometime. Watch their set from Fest last year to give you a glimpse into the intensity of their live shows. And stream ,Dies from their Bandcamp. And listen to it over and over again. Trust me, you’ll want to.