Since forming in 2008 in Tuscaloosa, AL, Gideon had been making a name for themselves by defying convention, creating their own distinct sound and never settling for anything that was just run of the mill or ordinary. Rather, the band—completed today by founding member and drummer Jake Smelley, vocalist Daniel McWhorter, guitarist/vocalist Tyler Riley and bassist Caleb DeRusha—kept stretching the boundaries of their sound to great acclaim and to increasing commercial success. 2011’s debut album, Costs, established them as powerhouse of the metalcore scene, but that’s something the band simultaneously pushed away from it, incorporating elements of melodic hardcore and hardcore punk into the fold of their songs, but always with an underlying sense of positivity and defiance. Impressively prolific, the band released their next two full-lengths, Milestone and Calloused, on Facedown Records in 2012 and 2014 respectively, before signing to Equal Vision Records.
Their first album for EVR was 2017’s Cold, followed by Out Of Control in 2019, a record that deservedly saw the band’s profile rising steadily. And then, of course, the pandemic hit. And all that hard work and dedication, and the progress they’d made vanished in an instant. In fact, Gideon were mid-tour on that album cycle when touring came grinding to a halt and forced the band to return home to Alabama, frustrated and disillusioned with a situation that—like most touring bands—thought might mean the end of what they do. Thankfully, it didn’t, which brings us to Gideon’s 6th full-length studio album. Recorded/mixed/mastered by Randy Lebouef at Graphic Nature Audio, MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. is a brutally intense burst of violent noise that both nods to the band’s past, musically and thematically, but also establishes itself in its own context.
“We had to walk through fire and break down walls to get to this chapter” says Smelley, “We’re done explaining why we are the way we are. This album is for the misunderstood, the dreamers, the broken, the damned, the ones that refuse to fall in line. When everything and everyone tells you to give up, your mind can take you to dark places. We came to realize that there was strength in that. Instead of letting it consume us, we fought like hell.”
One of the best examples of that is “Too Much Is Never Enough”, the first single from the album. Released today, it’s a pummeling blast of vicious, metal-tinged hardcore, all acerbic guitars and chugging riffs over which McWhorter viciously spits ‘Nothing was given to me, that shit was earned. The hard way.’ It’s a line that sums up not just the song, but also much of the album as well—and the underlying positivity that underpins all of it.
“That song really encapsulates what the theme of the record is,” says Riley. “It talks about how much work it takes to stay ahead. Especially when it feels like there are people around you that don’t believe in you, and that may not believe you’ve earned your place, even though the pain of sacrifice is felt deeply every day—and how you have to let that fuel you. It's about how much shit we took just to get here, but trying to embrace that process as a positive instead of a negative—that no matter how much is coming at us and distorting our vision, we’re still looking at goals beyond it, and letting the pain fuel us to the finish line.”
“You can go through all our albums,” adds Smelley, “and see the chapters of pain and the other things we've dealt with through the years. But where MORE POWER. MORE PAIN came from was us genuinely understanding that in order to gain more control over our lives, we have to be willing to bite the bullet and go through whatever it takes to get there.”
To that extent, then, too much truly never is enough. Indeed, that song is just the start of the band’s next chapter. A self-empowering call to arms, it continues—much like the rest of the record—to redefine who and what and why Gideon are. The result is the most uncompromising reason for their existence to date.
Daniel McWhorter Vocals // Tyler Riley Guitar // Caleb DeRusha Bass // Jake Smelley Drums