This is the Leicester-based band’s third release and one which builds perfectly on the monstrously heavy Through The Void from 2018. Their name may hint at yet more dope-infused, swamp sludge fuzziness, but to hang your hat on that assumption alone would be quite a blunder. The album manages to balance planet-devouring darkness, with enough gossamer-light touches to genuinely build an engrossing, evocative and exciting collection of tunes. On Toward The Sun, Garganjua really have taken their sound to another level.
Opening track ‘Transcending’ is an ambient trip, with post rock/doom inflections accompanying a cracked spoken voice monologue, asking the listener “What is my relationship with the present moment? What is my relationship with life?” before segueing into ‘The New Sun’ with choral-like effects, ethereal guitars and rolling drums culminating in osmium-like heaviness and sorrowful, roaring vocals. It moves effortlessly between moods of quiet reflection and unsettling darkness. ‘Mire’ continues in a similarly weighty vein, with shades of Mastodon, Neurosis, ISIS and Pelican, while ‘Transcendence’ provides exactly that, lifting the listener from the darkness, providing a Pink Floyd-esque sound, which while solemn in parts manages also to feel truly elevating. Perhaps the most eerie and disquieting track is ‘Light Bearer’, opening with a discordant riff and enormous multi-layered vocals no doubt proclaiming doom to mankind. This is probably one of the strongest tracks on the whole album, with a myriad of changes – timings, styles, vocals and tempos – demanding the listener pay close attention. This may be a little overwhelming for the uninitiated at first, but repeated listens reap sumptuous rewards.
With any luck, Toward The Sun could be the album that thrusts Garganjua to the forefront of an already packed musical genre, as there are so many ideas, so many surprises and so many challenges to keep the listener engaged not only on first listen, but more importantly to keep them coming back for more. Gargantuan stuff, indeed.
Toward The Sun is released 17th January via Holy Roar Records and can be purchased here.
Words – Scott Crawford