Friday, February 1, 2013

Gozu Finds The Fury Of A Patient Man

It might have taken nearly three years for Gozu to return to Mad Oak Studios and the Bridge Sound and Stage to record another album, but the wait was worth it. The Boston quartet's sophomore album, The Fury Of A Patient Man, sounds smoother, sludgier, and more coherent than any previous release.

Notably, Marc Gaffney has perfected his low and soulful melodies, delivering them with enough confidence to keep any previous need for distortions and backup vocals to a minimum. The Fury Of A Patient Man clearly catches Gaffney at his best, not because he is more weathered but because he can be clearly heard with a renewed fortitude.

Gaffney isn't the only one to show improvement. Doug Sherman steps up his consistently thick riffs and permeating groove as Barry Spillberg lays down his relentless drum work, tossing in the occasional creative roll. The band's new bassist, Joe Grotto (Motherboar), also proves to be a natural fit on an album engineered by his brother Benny Grotto along with Owen Curtin.

The Fury Of A Patient Man is a crystalizing moment for Gozu. 

Gozu has always been able to deliver some densely layered onslaughts of metal, but the album opener raises the bar as it sets a stampede pace for the 10-track marathon. Bald Bull rocks.

Although best described relentless metal buzz, it's the intensely memorable guitar solo in the back third of the song that earns it a place among essential metal picks. The rest of the track is near perfect too, everything from Gaffney finding the right groove to Sherman and Spillberg delivering moments of impressively composed and well-executed metal.

With such a strong opener, the second track almost feels too relaxed to follow. In case you don't know, Signed, Epstein's Mom gives a one-off nod to the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter and possibly actor Robert Hegyes. The best part of the track is another rousing solo tucked deep inside it.

Another attention-grabbing title is the mashup Charles Bronson Pinchot. It's heavy, humorous, and gives Gozu another opportunity to prove its potency in marrying two distinct sounds to one song. In this case, they kick off the song with some galloping trash metal but then channel a post-metal atmospheric transition before ending on a note as furious as the one they used to begin it.

What makes these grand transitions so addictive is Gozu's ability to retain an aggressive spontaneity to their song craft. After a couple if passes, you know Irish Dart Fight will eventually be hammered into something other than a whimsical rocker with a seventies swagger. And yet, you'll listen intently for the change up anyway, just in case it turns out different.

Every track feels equally unpredictable: The hook-laden Salty Thumb, sludge heavy Disco Related Injury, and the hauntingly memorable Traci Lords. And then, of course, The Ceaseless Thunder Of Surf belts out for almost a full 24 minutes, bringing the entire album to just over an hour.

This track alone, if not the entire album, sets a high water mark for stoner metal this year. The entire album is meticulously crafted and perfectly executed, with nothing left to chance even if it feels like everything was left to chance.

The Fury Of A Patient Man Burns 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

If five years requires patience, then Gozu is appropriately ferocious. They have never played tighter or known precisely where they wanted to take anyone who would listen. And perhaps that is what stands out the most on The Fury Of A Patient Man. From the very first track, it's abundantly clear that Gozu knows where they want to take you — and then do it, effortlessly.

The Fury Of A Patient Man by Gozu can be found on Amazon or downloaded from iTunes. The album was originally scheduled to be released in February,  but piracy concerns prompted an early drop date. This is a band worth supporting. Every inch of the album is worth the download. Keep an eye out for tour dates in New England on Facebook.
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