While seemingly increasing in frequency, supergroups continue to be a hit-or-miss commodity. They toe a delicate line between novel and novelty. Results may vary; though seldom boring, the arrangement reaches flat-out kismet with equal infrequency. Gone Is Gone have the potential to be one of those latter. The group is an accelerating pinball approaching bumpers, a chance collaboration with opportunities to embrace genuine depth and voluptuous range.
Founded initially by a pair of musicians while scoring film trailers on what I presume was their off-time, Gone Is Gone began with acclaimed At the Drive-In drummer Tony Hajjar and composer/multi-instrumentalist Mike Zarin. The duo added Mastodon bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. With these men in one recording studio, the potential for face-melting translates onto their debut self-titled EP. Gone Is Gone is exactly what you might expect from phenoms in the psychedelia, shoegaze, thrash, and hardcore worlds, the four artists supporting and inspiring each other.
Gone Is Gone gain footing in a moderate bum-rush. What appears at first listen to approach Mars Volta’s last release reveals itself as a more disjointed, purer pleasure of psychosis. The EP plays out smoothly before reaching the coda, ready for a replay, whether out of critical analysis or morbid curiosity.
That said, good vibrations are not entirely consistent from beginning to end. Leadoff track “Violescent” semi-djents and growls madly, while “This Chapter” vies for a slot on the Dark Tower OST. Unnecessary spoken word rudely interjects from time to time, feeling like a Halo cut-scene voiceover. But as a whole, Gone is Gone shines as the work of three distinctly different musical voices coming together.
Atmosphere is absolutely key here. This record is an unstable molecule, rigged to detonate at a press of the PLAY button. The EP boasts an alchemist’s octahedron of prehistorically stomping sludge (“One Divided”), what I can only describe as Mogwai Light with Vocals (“Praying From the Danger”), and a horror film through the lens of punk and post-hardcore (“Stolen From Me”). Gone Is Gone, as an act, as a brand, can be more than the sum of its parts, if they put these pieces together and build a more cohesive, fuller package.
Gone Is Gone plays smooth, finishes rough, and gets a little eccentric where it ought not to. Thankfully, the EP is far more good than bad, and Gone Is Gone — with the right touches — will not be forgotten any time soon. The group got their start putting together music for film trailers, but have Hajjar and Zarin have since looked up at scoring full films. This EP feels a lot like the trailer to an action-packed epic on the way soon.
Essential Tracks: “Violescent”, “One Divided”, and “This Chapter”