AlbumsMarch 15, 20243,833 views

Gouge Away Deep Sage


Deep Sage
1. Stuck In A Dream 2. Maybe Blue 3. Idealized 4. Deep Sage 5. A Welcome Change 6. Overwatering 7. No Release 8. The Sharpening 9. Spaced Out 10. Newtau 11. Dallas
2024 Deathwish Inc.
Our score 8

3/15/2024

It's been six years since Florida originated punks Gouge Away last released an album, 2018's Burnt Sugar. Since their beginnings in the mid 2010's as a fast, straight up hardcore band, Burnt Sugar was the first big turn in the band's sonic evolution, retaining some of the bite of their earlier material but leaning much heavier into alternative and noise rock genres, pulling influence from 90's trailblazers such as The Breeders and Sonic Youth and later records from their current era peers in Ceremony. It was quite a departure from the fast and heavy no frills hardcore of their first LP, Dies and one that gained them a huge base of the new fans and saw them set forth on tours with bands from all over the alternative music spectrum. 

Then, as with thousands of other bands during the pandemic, things went quiet for years. Members of the band started new projects like Drag Pattern, or joined already established acts Angel Dust and Nothing, to name a few. Aside from the occasional one off show, it seemed like another album from Gouge Away might not be happening. Fortunately the time off proved to be just that, and we've arrived at the imminent release of their new record Deep Sage, which pushes the more experimental moments of Burnt Sugar even further with fantastic results.

There's still plenty of moments of aggression on Deep Sage, but they've been further subdued and pulled back to specific moments, with the heavier moments on this record feeling more like aggressive post punk moreover then their earlier hardcore sounds. While there were certainly highlights in the more straightforward heavy material Gouge Away released in the past, this new sound suites them well and is infinitely more interesting. Heavier and shorter songs like lead single “Stuck In A Dream” and “No Release” still boil over with the intensity of earlier releases, while songs like “Idealized” the title track and closer “Dallas” are more heavily focused on being catchy and outright hypnotic, with the occasional noise rock riff hitting at just the right moment, always keeping you on your toes.

 From a songwriting and performance standpoint, it's clear the band wasn't taking it easy in the break between records, as this is easily their best on both front. Vocalist Christina has never sounded better or more confident, and she's been placed front and center in the mix this time around, in comparison to the multiple moments on their past records where they felt somewhat buried behind everything else going on. It's a welcome change and one that elevates the songs and makes them hit more immediately, and ensures they stick with you after the fact.

While it's clear that Gouge Away hasn't completely abandoned the punk and hardcore scene they've been a part of for around a decade now, Deep Sage is unafraid to bring more than those base genres to the table and is better for it. There's a sense of dynamics and an overall organic warmth this record has that could only come with years of being a band and a symbiotic creative relationship between musicians that know each other and know exactly what they're looking to bring out of each other. 

Records such as the aforementioned Sonic Youth's seminal Daydream Nation defined an entire generation of freaks, punks and weirdos in the late 80's/90's, and while obviously the impact of a record that hasn't even dropped yet can't possibly be measured to that, this does feel like a modern, more aggressive version of the bands and records from that era, a somewhat lawless time for music where bands were much more willing to push outside of their comfort zone and get weird with it. It's both nostalgic and somewhat refreshing, as while there's never been more active bands in the punk and hardcore scene, many of them are extremely focused on nailing one single sound and calling it a day. Ain't nothing wrong with that (I know ya'll will never forget I gave Zulu a 9!), but I'm personally hyped to hear bands willing to break out of their comfort zone while still honoring where they came from.

Bottom Line: Deep Sage isn't something completely new from Gouge Away, but it's certainly an extension and progression from the experimental side they were showing on their previous full length, and highly surpasses anything before it in terms of the quality of songwriting, the production and the performances. I'd imagine this might be the last record they release on a smaller label as they seem like a band poised to do even bigger things as time moves forward, and certainly the effort and care put into this record will propel them there. 


17 comments

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anonymous 36 days ago

Not reading this because I know just by the name Eliot that this is a complete pile of shit word salad from the worst music reviewer in the history of music reviews.

anonymous 36 days ago

I love this band and I'm stoked to give this a listen.

easyhateoven 36 days ago

Florida originated punks?

anonymous 36 days ago

Take an English class. Or, at minimum, use the free version of Grammarly. You could even paste your dribble into ChatGPT and ask it to make it legible for you. f*ck.

anonymous 36 days ago

"Florida originated punks?" Only six years ago, apparently.

anonymous 36 days ago

"Deep Sage isn't something completely new from Gouge Away" So, this isn't a new album from the band?

anonymous 36 days ago

Not a 9 like Zulu but still would!

anonymous 36 days ago

Please stop

anonymous 36 days ago

It was 9 when he posted this originally, don't know why the score got edited

anonymous 36 days ago

Gay looking band Gay looking cover Jfc this is a metal and hardcore website.

anonymous 36 days ago

Fart Away

anonymous 35 days ago

"(I know ya'll will never forget I gave Zulu a 9!)" Lol never forget.

anonymous 35 days ago

Vocals just don't go with the music whatsoever. I enjoyed the music though, vocals are trash.

anonymous 35 days ago

Seriously stop trying. You f*cking suck so bad at this. So bad

NorthFromHere 34 days ago

Pretty good album. Music and vocals do seem at cross-purposes at times.

anonymous 32 days ago

Lol at "sage" on LG

anonymous 29 days ago

album owns