As attentive metal journalists have been shrewdly attesting for the past few years or so, the doom metal scene, and its dingy underground, has found itself in a remarkably healthy state as of late. As it continues to prove itself one of the modern metal genre’s most creative and innovative offsprings, it’s become hard to ignore the wealth of artists striving to do something new with a style that would, at surface value, seem limiting. Such a burgeoning scene has lead to a myriad of weird and wonderful genre-blending concoctions, and it’s no longer enough to simply be good at writing a fuzz-soaked riff that makes a crowd nod their heads.
At first glance, one may fear that Leicestershire-based outfit Garganjua would find themselves falling short of that high benchmark – which has undoubtedly raised since their impressive Trip Wizard EP dropped in 2014 – but the subtleties of their sound prove any such inklings wrong throughout upcoming new album Through The Void. In early 2017, the band’s debut LP, A Voyage In Solitude, showed their aptitude for both melody-laden clean passages and gut-rumbling riffs, and Through The Void seeks to further this talent.
Whilst there’s a case to be made for opting for a full-on onslaught of claustrophobically heavy noise (looking at you, Primitive Man), Garganjua recognise that the use of clean vocals, smatterings of melody and even the odd major chord progression can work just as well. Brandishing this knowledge more and more as Through The Void progresses, Garganjua explore increasingly poignant textures as they delve further into the album. Opener ‘Crushed Beneath The Tide’ proves itself an apt introduction with an apt title as it drifts monotonously but forcefully along, occasionally lurching into irresistible groove-laden riffs. But things become more dynamic and impressive as the band begin to expand their horizons, even foraying into emotive croons to see out second track ‘Adrift’ in moving fashion, and eventually reaching their poignant peak at the midway point of closer ‘A Distant Shore’, as expressive acoustic guitar and heartfelt violin highjack proceedings to take them in a dramatically more emotive direction.
Garganjua are more than capable of replicating the doom genre’s ‘tune low, play slow’ mantra, but the quartet aren’t ones to play it safe, instead infusing their second full-length with a raw emotive power that’s unafraid to ignore the genre’s would-be restrictions.
Garganjua are currently running a PledgeMusic campaign to release Through The Void on vinyl and CD, support it here.
Words: George Parr