Featuring current/ex-members of Converge, The Red Chord, Cave In, Hatebreed, and Trap Them, don’t let these band names fool you – this might not be what you are expecting. Rust on the Gates of Heaven is not a hardcore supergroup. Rather, it’s a 53-minute journey into reflective post-rock waters, and has more in common with bands like Crippled Black Phoenix, Mogwai, Angels of Light, Russian Circles, and, yes, hints of Cave In, than any of the other bands listed.
This is an album designed with feelings and emotions in mind first and foremost. The music then wraps around this and becomes a vehicle for the album’s emotive themes. Although you can, technically, say this about a great many albums, on Rust on the Gates of Heaven you can really feel this to be the case, which, obviously, is the entire point.
The songs build; they ebb and flow, and they gradually change and transmute. This is a record of heartfelt beauty and atmosphere, and the music reflects this. Combining progressive rock with cinematic soundscapes and electronic enhancements, the songs on this album are filled with depth and substance; right from the start there’s immediately enough to hold your attention firm, while repeated visits help tease out all of the intricacies and nuances.
Multiple moods and feelings are explored across the album, with a variety of styles used to portray the various themes and emotions that the band want to get across. Some songs favour the more guitar-oriented, rockier side of the post-rock equation, while others almost remove any aspect of rock and focus purely on crafting sounds that aim to be as affecting as possible. It can be heavy in places, but this is not the focus of the music; whether playing heavy or light, fast or slow, or anything else, the variety of styles and ideas on this album are all pressed into the service of the needs of the individual song.
Rust on the Gates of Heaven is well-crafted, written, performed, and delivered. It has a diverse array of tools in its toolbox, and uses them all wisely to achieve its goals.
Very highly recommended.