Album Reviews : Garganjua – Toward The Sun
Garganjua have been ticking away for a few years now in the UK metal scene, slowly carving out a spot for themselves as a well-respected and forward-thinking doom outfit. Part of what has kept their music ever-evolving is their amalgamation of everything from post-rock and prog metal to sludge and, primarily, doom. This space to explore flows into their latest release, Toward the Sun, which further progresses their reputation as an exciting band that will keep listeners on their toes.
Toward the Sun sets off with a sombre monologue around how we experience time – effectively only in the present – and encourages the listener to focus on the now instead of the past or present. Soft post-rock noodlings see out the track and transition into The New Sun, a sprawling track that gently see-saws between meditatively ambient sections and pulsating heavier sections of uplifting prog riffs and satisfying sludgy chugging. This interplay between the calm and the storm is present throughout the rest of the album, demanding focus throughout lest you miss something special. The album slowly builds as it moves through tracks Mire and Transcendence, increasing both the technicality and heaviness that would make any headbanger’s day. Light Bearer shifts slightly to a more grandiose sound, something that was present but played a smaller part on previous tracks. Penultimate track Controlling Waves shows off more melodic clean vocals, which were somewhat more harmonic on previous tracks; a momentous change of pace and something that’ll leave earworms in your brain for days. Final track To Ascend (Awakening) is a huge closer that neatly ties up the album, both sonically and thematically. To Ascend reaches a crescendo twice and relatively quickly each time, something rare amongst closing tracks on post-metal and doom albums. A triplet of chugs reminiscent of the banging of a gong ring out several times in the middle of the song before it continues down its concluding path. This path continues to build a big, sombre, and melodic sound before another triplet of chugs. Despite sounding like it’s leading into one more song, the album has ended, reminding the listener to stop pondering future tracks and just enjoy what’s currently playing.
Toward the Sun is an exemplary achievement from Garganjua in exploring new territory in the doom sphere, whilst also nodding to heavyweights such as Pallbearer and Ahab. Then again, who cares what has happened or what will? This album stands supremely tall on its own.
Album: Toward the Sun
Genre: Progressive Doom / Sludge Metal
Label: Holy Roar Records