If Gone Is Gone sounds vaguely familiar, it’s probably because the members are veterans in the hard rock arena. I have always been a proponent of supergroups, because let’s face it, the only thing better than one great metal band is two great metal bands with a similar sound but a completely new style. Troy Sanders of Mastodon, Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age, Tony Hajjar of At the Drive-In, and composer Mike Zarin united to form the supergroup, combining their varied experiences—post-hardcore legacy act, sludgy metal headliner, straight up rock n’ roll—to create something distinctive.
And their self-title debut EP is, without a doubt, distinctive. At times darkly languishing, expansive, and even psychedelic, Gone Is Gone pushes the boundaries of what heavy music should be. “Violescent” dabbles in hooky choruses and pounding bass; “Starlight” experiments with dark, spectral melodies; “One Divided” uses staccato guitar in a kind of violent march; and “Recede and Enter” provides an atmospheric, otherworldly interlude to lead into the final, dramatic track “This Chapter.” A good chunk of the album is too artsy and experimental to be radio-friendly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the more accessible tracks like “Stolen From Me” or even “Praying From the Danger” become summer hits.
Gone Is Gone is an all-around satisfying first effort, a stylized exploration of what each member can provide. It may not be the most cohesive work, but each song speaks for itself and functions as its own insular piece of art. If you’re a fan of At the Drive-In, Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon, or weird heavy music in general, then Gone Is Gone is the band for you.
Gone Is Gone is out Friday, July 7 on Rise Records.