Published Aug 20, 2012Salt Lake City's Gaza have a penchant for thought-provoking lyrical content and themes that go perfectly with their heavy and aggressive blend of hardcore, grind and sludge. The band's latest album, No Absolutes in Human Suffering, features more of their profound subject matter, but as vocalist Jon Parkin explains in a recent Exclaim! interview, Gaza have taken a different approach with this record.
No Absolutes in Human Suffering is Gaza's third full-length, following 2009's He Is Never Coming Back and 2006's I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die, which both feature material that challenges religion, particularly the Catholic Church. However, Parkin says the new album takes a deeper look at the disintegration of the United States and the truth about humanity.
"Rather than just shooting against the wall and seeing what sticks, it became more of a focussed effort, more like where America is headed and the different causes of that," he explains. "You've got religion and religious rights as one cause, but you've also got capitalism and the cycle of empires and the peaking of a nation, quote unquote 'the number one nation in the world,' all culminating at once.
"A lot of the themes are about just realizing we're coming to the end of the cycle, realizing the country is peaking and unless it can right itself, I think it's obviously going to start to nose-dive a little bit. Religion has a lot to do with our politics down here, so I tried to hit on it from that standpoint, a little bit more politically, rather than just the 'How the hell can you believe a fairy tale?' approach."
Parkin says that the title for the record, No Absolutes in Human Suffering, was heavily inspired by American novelist Cormac McCarthy and his bleak, post-apocalyptic themes.
"We didn't sit down and think, 'Well, let's write a record that sounds like The Road' or whatever, but the mood is similar where it's just kind of desolate and empty and people are capable of eating each other and think genocide isn't a problem.
"Human beings have always been hell to each other and it just doesn't seem like there's an end to it, like a limit to how much suffering we can inflict on each other. The name of the record came from the United States being this giant, this giant that it is today, and we hold ourselves in the highest esteem, like we're the sacred children country, but we did it all, we did everything, on the backs of the poor. The title encompasses all of that, it encompasses religious warfare and what that can do, it encompasses ethnic cleansing and what that can do, it encompasses capitalism and what that can do. So it just kind of paints people in a real light.
"The darkest things that people are capable of doing to each other is the truth about what a human being is, versus all the pie-in-the-sky optimism and hope that that people throw all over each other. I mean, the real, tangible things are actions and the darkness is how far we're willing to take those actions. So that's where the title came from, kind of the four corners of pain and humanity."
No Absolutes in Human Suffering is available now digitally and physically on August 28 via Black Market Activities.
Check out Gaza on Exclaim! TV's Aggressive Tendencies here.