Thursday, 11 February 2016

Garganjua - A Voyage in Solitude

(January 29th, 2016, Black Bown Records, Hibernacula Records)

One day I was aimlessly wandering through the vastness of the internet, randomly clicking on various music links, as I usually do, always hoping to find something new, fresh, exciting... something that will really impress me. And there it was... a youtube link for a full Garganjua album, A Voyage in Solitude. I clicked, expecting very little, because rarely I discover something really mind blowing these days. And then it started... the Voyage. And boy... was I mind blown... blown and swept away by the power of this doom trio from Leicestershire, UK. I was just sitting there jaw dropped for 41 minute and 6 seconds after which I just thought: "Finally!". No, not "Finally, the album is over", but "Finally, someone made an album like this!". 

   Garganjua released a Trip Wizard EP back in 2014. It's a good release, very much influenced by the classic UK doom. Early Cathedral, early Electric Wizard, and, of course, Black Sabbath. And this is pretty much how it sounds. It's not bad, far from it, it's a good doom EP, with some nice riffing, good growls and some decent clean vocals. But it seems these guys wanted to do something much more on their new album. And they certainly did. A Voyage In Solitude is a beautiful fusion of old and new... of traditional and contemporary. A huge palette of sounds is present on this record... From the traditional sound of Black Sabbath, across the early death doom of Cathedral and the epic doom of bands like Candlemass, Solstice and Warning to the modern, more progressive sound of Yob and Pallbearer, these guys blended it all perfectly. Garganjua have no problem taking you smoothly throughout all these doom subgenres, often changing dynamics by incorporating quiet, atmospheric intros and breaks to let you breathe a little in between their huge walls of riffs. Vocals also change... At times you will hear extremely powerful growls (really, it's been a while since I last heard harsh vocals performed with such consistency and clarity), which then give way to, also incredibly well done, clean singing. This shifting between quiet and heavy instrumental parts and harsh and clean vocals is what gives A Voyage in Solitude a distinctive aura and a unique atmosphere.

   A Voyage in Solitude truly is a voyage... a journey which shows us various forms of human states of mind... despair, anxiety, grief, melancholy, but also hope, patience, strenght, endurance, spirituality... And at the end of this hard, long and solitary road, human being eventually experiences catharsis.

   It's a beautifully done album with great cover artwork by Alan O'Neill which suits the music perfectly. Overall production is exceptional; heavy, yet very clear and definitely gives a great final touch to the whole vibe of the album.

   It is evident that these three guys put their whole hearts and souls into making this amazing piece of music, so if you like what you hear give them your support, and keep an eye out on them because I have a feeling this bunch will go far.

- Luka


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