Gatherers' third studio album, We Are Alive Beyond Repair, is a bleak, brutal, nihilistic record that's shrouded in despair and anguish. "We wanted this album to be as ugly and as horribly truthful as possible," explains vocalist Rich Weinberger. "It has this very human but flawed connotation to it. It's very pessimistic. I was reading a lot of Sylvia Plath at the time we were writing this record and I just like that the fabric of our existence is very meek and it's dull and, no matter what, nothing will ever get better. That was the angle I wanted to explore with this record. It's the idea of just being completely unfulfilled, that no matter how much time we put into this band it'll never be self-fulfilling."
Weinberger also took, as he always has done, inspiration from visual art, while the band – completed by bassist Matt Popowski, drummer Adam Cichocki, and guitarists Anthony Gesa and Rob Talalai – sought to create a soundtrack to an imagined palette of colors, to create an atmosphere based on abstractions and turn it into something altogether more visceral and real. The result is an album that flows with the blood of other people, rather than the band itself. "Every Pain In Monochrome," for example, was informed by the story British author Virginia Woolfe, who took her life by filling her pockets with stones and walking into a river, while "The Floorboards Are Breathing" was sparked by the documentary Every Fucking Day Of My Life which tells the tale of a woman who was for years a victim of domestic abuse before snapping and killing her husband with a hammer.
Weinberger is swift to point out, however, that these songs aren't about those people or their situations. It's more that they served as a springboard for them. "I like writing with a giant brush of ambiguity," says Weinberger, "and every song on this record is written from some sort of abstract perspective. I love a lot of bands that write from a first person perspective, but I don't like writing like that. It becomes very tedious to me. So these songs aren't about Virginia Woolfe or the woman who killed her husband. That's all ground zero source material. It's more of a vicarious headspace that I want to get people to explore."
It's an approach that has produced a spine-chilling interpretation of what post-hardcore can be, one which is at once familiar but which pushes the boundaries of the genre to extremes. Recorded during most of the month of April 2017 at VuDu Studios in Long Island with Mike Watts and Frank Mitaritonna – who have worked with Glassjaw, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and The Dear Hunter – by a band that are as much inspired by Interpol and Radiohead, We Are Alive Beyond Repair can be absolutely vicious but wraps the majority of its songs (and their rage, their angst, their turbulence) in a dense but beautiful shimmer of guitars.
That constant wall of sound, built around layers of sumptuous but brooding atmospherics, is both powerful and fragile, simultaneously collapsing while it also holding all the fractured emotions contained within its folds in place. It makes for a complete body of work, a savage but thrilling journey into that dark, never-ending tunnel of nihilism.