“THE GORGE makes prog metal with humility, substance and more than a touch of expert composition. This four piece have harnessed their jazz skills to create an extreme record that feels exact without being exacting.” — Invisible Oranges
Invisible Oranges is hosting an exclusive stream of Mechanical Fiction, the new full-length from St. Louis-based progressive metal outfit THE GORGE, ahead of the album’s official release date this Friday on Pelagic Records.
Born from their shared love for heavy music and twenty years of experience in playing together, THE GORGE consists of four jazz musicians who use the project as a creative outlet besides their day jobs as session musicians and music educators. Triangulating the chaotic yet groovy energy and the guitar masterclass of Botch with the riffage of Mastodon and the nimble instrumental intricacy of Animals As Leaders or Intronaut, Mechanical Fiction is an immensely ear-pleasing collection of tasty riffs and complex compositions that are nonetheless free-flowing like a river smoothly carving its winding path through a rugged landscape.
Writes Invisible Oranges in part, “Formed by jazz musicians with music education backgrounds, THE GORGE’s proggy blend of hardcore and metal manages to showcase members’ chops while delivering on songcraft. The St. Louis act’s third record Mechanical Fiction, due out this Friday via Pelagic records, is tight and tidy without getting tiresome. Touches of math-rock fret tapping and precise time-signature changes open up onto expanses of djent guitar, while guitarist and vocalist Phil Ring’s howls guide the band forward through twisting passages and washes of ambience.”
Stream THE GORGE’s entire Mechanical Fiction full-length early now through Invisible Oranges at THIS LOCATION.
Pelagic Records will release THE GORGE’s Mechanical Fiction on CD, LP, and digital formats this Friday, July 28th. Find preorders HERE.
Catch THE GORGE live next month!
THE GORGE Live:
8/04/2023 Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
8/06/2023 Sound Growler Brewing Chicago, IL
8/07/2023 Five O’Clock Lounge – Cleveland, OH
8/08/2023 Dirty Dungarees – Columbus, OH
8/10/2023 Century Bar – Philadelphia, PA
8/11/2023 The Tubs – Brooklyn, NY
8/12/2023 The Shred Shed – Pittsburgh, PA
8/13/2023 Kaiju – Louisville, KY
Straddling a wide range of musical influences, Mechanical Fiction is an affair between four lovers of complex and heavy music. From the dazzling math rock complexities of album opener “Synapse Misfre” to the tapping acrobatics of “A Decision Was Made,” the whole of Mechanical Fiction exudes the pure joy these musicians must have felt while composing these tracks. Just following along the fast-chugging mid-section of “Beneath The Crust” which leads to the beautiful surprise of a glorious choir hailing the sunrise, or just rocking out to the glorious riffing that kicks in after some blistering blast beats on “Presence” are just a few of the ample examples of memorability and pure face-melting bliss on Mechanical Fiction.
“Mechanical Fiction refers to the mundane ways in which we proceed through our lives,” explains guitarist/vocalist Phil Ring. “Living out routines because that is what we are supposed to do, we constantly go through the motions, telling ourselves that everything is okay.” Scratching the surface, THE GORGE protrude pure fun combining tasteful guitar wizardry with giant grooves and a keen sense of songwriting, but delving deeper into the record and especially into the lyrics will lead to the discovery of unexpected emotional depth. “Dealing with the loss of loved ones to mental illness weighed heavily in the lyric writing process for me,” continues Ring. Shifting across the lyrics in his massive baritone growl, THE GORGE frontman brings to life pure desolation and grief on songs like “A Decision Was Made” or “Earthly Decay” making them not only pack a punch musically, but also emotionally.
Nevertheless, among the scattered ashes these musicians always manage to find a spark of hope that ignites a fame of joy. The title track hearkens back to that time when fusion solo guitarists like Tosin Abasi and Plini became big names, but in contrast with these skilled axemen, THE GORGE are less concerned with virtuoso soloing and more with repetition and structure. The statically pounding mechanisms of Meshuggah-style riffing and singing are artfully interspersed with surprising moments of pristine melody, which refect the two-faced nature of this record. The low-key “jazzy” midsection of “Earthly Decay” is a subtle moment in which the band’s musical pedigree shines through, but it’s actually in the artful buildup through the different sections towards a gnarly finale that really shows their collective compositional skill.