From a very early age, most of us are molded by the traditions of our upbringing. While there are undeniable benefits to tradition, often the fear of bucking against the expectations they create prevent us from pursuing our personal truth. Growing up in the deep south, the members of Gideon spent years letting these mental fences dictate their creative direction. On their aptly titled fifth full-length album, Out of Control, the band is no longer allowing themselves to be put in a box, sonically or topically, to fit what is expected of them.
The members of Gideon – Daniel McWhorter (Vocals), Tyler Riley (Guitar), Jake Smelley (Drums) and Caleb DeRusha (Bass) – have encountered a myriad of cultures while touring the world in support of their music. This opportunity to expand their worldview led to the realization that open-mindedness and acceptance are important aspects of developing your own perspective. As a result, they’ve grown away from their roots as a “Christian Metalcore” band. If you look at the band’s last three records, this transition becomes apparent. On 2014’s Calloused, the band offered glimpses into their internal struggle with being a “Christian” band. By the release of Cold in 2017, they emerged more bitter and aggressive; defiant in the face of expectations. Finally, Out of Control finds the band breaking free of all previous restraints as they craft a diverse record unlike anything they’ve ever released.
Out of Control is enhanced by it’s eclectic array of musical influences. Most notably, there is a heavy dose of 90’s and 2000’s nu metal, but there are also clear inflections of outlaw country and hip hop incorporated throughout the record. The album, which found the band reuniting with producer Randy Leboeuf, further benefited from the inclusion of bassist Caleb DeRusha. A long time friend of the band, DeRusha’s familiarity with Gideon’s music and fresh perspective were integral to redefining their sound. Lyrically, Smelley tapped into the same sources of pain that fueled a good portion of the timeless songs included in the Great American Songbook. In the process, they embraced their southern pride while redefining what that term actually means. On “Take Me”, the band speaks to the emotional rollercoaster of being a musician – from the lows of losing ones they love while on tour half a world away and not being able to come home during trying times to only feeling alive while pursuing their dream. “Sleep” is a defiant anthem addressed to those that have tried to invoke a form of control over the band or its members – particularly fans that have turned their backs on the band as they’ve moved away from their previous style. “Outlaw” is about finding the supreme confidence in being yourself that is necessary to truly reach your potential and, for the first time, the band speaks for the south on songs like “Southwind” and “Out of Control”.
Gideon was particularly inspired by Andre3000’s bold statement that “The South’s got something to say” at the Source Awards in 1995 while writing this record. At the time, mainstream hip hop revolved around “East Coast vs. West Coast”, and Andre3000’s claim energized a generation of southern artists to demand they be taken seriously. When Out of Control is released on Equal Vision Records October 11th, it will undoubtedly prove that, once again, the south has something to say.