A Voyage in Solitude.
I’ve recently been asked by someone I quite admire on a professional level, musically, to review his bands new album, so for me this is quite a daunting prospect as the guy is, in my opinion, a very gifted guitar player, so I hope I can give a credible account of his music and one that doesn’t sound like a five year old babbling on about world politics, as let’s face it, that would be absolute rubbish! If it does, I apologise in advance, but he did ask me to write a review! hahaha!
I was first introduced to Scott Taylor through his guitar playing with Beholder, but that is so far from the music he produces with Garganjua that I honestly couldn’t believe it was the same guitarist!
According to the bands Bio, Garganjua started life as a three piece, probably in a dungeon somewhere in the Midlands amidst a plume of smoke – if I was to go on the bands name alone. Truth is, this project was merely a way for three like minded friends/musicians to pass the time away, playing music they love to play and listen to themselves. As they practiced, they soon realised they were onto something and decided to take it more seriously and started to actively write credible material that could be recorded and played live at a show, fancy that!
In April 2014, Garganjua travelled to Wales to the legendary Foel Studios to record their first EP. Whilst recording, studio owner and former Hawkwind bass player, Dave Henderson sat in on one of their sessions and commented on how he though their sound would “FREAK PEOPLE OUT”. That debut EP, titled ‘Trip Wizard’, received positive reviews from around the globe, also getting radio air play as far as America and Australia, as well as here in the UK. This helped the band to secure a number of gigs at O2 Academy venues and bigger club shows supporting the likes of Pallbearer, X11 Boar, Bast, Greenhorn and Warlord UK to name a few. Incidentally, the bands debut EP can still be streamed via their bandcamp page if you’re interested, or simply can’t wait for their new release!
According to the band, their style has developed and changed significantly since that first EP was released and now get compared to bands like Yob, Pallbearer and Ahab.
Due to this musical progression and the diverse sound that the band were taking on, they decided the live show also needed to be bigger and more importantly, louder, so they enlisted the help of a long time friend to join as a second guitarist and Garganjua now consists of the following members, in the following roles:
Scott Taylor – Guitar and Vocals
Gareth Owen – Bass and Vocals
Gazz Chambers – Guitar and Vocals
Ben Weston – Drums
With the band now complete, they are set to release the bands debut album and although it’s only four tracks long, these four tracks span a length equal to some albums – forty minutes plus. For some, this may sound odd or boring, but when you consider the fact that Garganjua are a doom/metal band, this no longer seems as ridiculous as it sounds. Some simply don’t get the metal sub-genre of doom and think you have to be as high as a kite to get it, this isn’t strictly true but you do have to be in a particular state of mind to appreciate this style of music, in my opinion!
I, like so many others love all kinds of music and am diverse in my musical tastes, depending on what mood I’m in at any particular time. I listen to music all day and every day, so my moods can be very different in the morning compared with my mood on my journey home from work. After a long/rubbish day, I can honestly say I love to listen to doom and am doing so more and more, as I’m discovering the bands who produce this style of music. I’m sure some people may be able to relate with this, however, doom doesn’t make me feel depressed, quite the opposite in fact.
‘A Voyage in Solitude’ has been playing in my car since I received it several weeks ago. (Sorry for the delay with this review) Within 10 minutes, which is the average length per track, I’ve simply forgotten about my working day and have become so engrossed in the riffs and the mellow tuned down guitars, it’s like I’ve smoked the biggest fattest joint imaginable! (Don’t do drugs kids, they’re bad for you, this is merely hypothetical!)
Garganjua have managed to pull off a truly commendable body of work on this album, earning them the genuine title of riff masters in the highest order, or as they put it, tuned low and played slow. What they do isn’t a new concept, but they are in fact one of the few bands who are actively out there and in circulation today, producing this unique style of music. I can’t pick a favourite track off this album though as it has to be listened to and appreciated in it’s entirety, given the right frame of mind.
I can easily award Garganjua’s debut album “A Voyage in Solitude”, a score of 9 out of 10 for it’s sheer brilliance and technical wizardry and I would urge any true fans of Doom to give this album a listen, you won’t be disappointed. Outstanding guys!
Thanks for asking us here at Music224 to review Garganjua’s new album mate, it means a lot and I hope to see this being performed live, in a venue near me soon!
“A Voyage in Solitude” will be released digitally in January 2016 via Black Bow Records and physically via Hibernacula Records. Album artwork was produced by Alan O’Neill over at Zonument.
Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)