The Alabama hardcore quintet Gideon doesn’t hold back on Milestone. The band’s Christian faith is fiery and militant, wedded to a ferocious sound that avoids excessive breakdowns and blast beats in favor of a more targeted attack. There’s an admirable intensity here, heard in lead singer Daniel McWhorter’s harsh declamations and in the muscular finesse of Daniel McCartney’s guitar work. “Gutter” (a brutal castigation of a false-hearted friend), “Coward” (a tough-love outburst directed at a struggling alcoholic), and “Maternity” (a desperate outreach to an estranged parent) match confrontational lyrics with brutal riffage and merciless tempos. Gideon’s strength as an ensemble is shown in the deft time changes of “Prodigal Son” and the brooding atmospherics of the instrumental title tune. Amid eruptions of rage, there are moments of gratitude: "Still Alive,” for instance, is a thunderous salute to a fellow road warrior. “Faceless”—an anguished glimpse of family suffering—closes the album with an affirmation of God’s forgiveness. Milestone is an intense, sweat-inducing ride that ultimately ends in redemption.

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