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Garganjua

Through the Void, album review.

Having reviewed the bands debut album ‘A Voyage in Solitude’ almost 2 years to the day, I was keen to listen to their latest offering, which is soon to be released to the general public, on all formats. My review, of Garganjua’s first album, can be viewed here, if you’re interested?

As the wife is Christmas shopping and I’ve escaped from a near death experience, having nearly electrocuted myself, thinking the power was off, but when I pulled the live wire out of a plug socket, I was changing, sparks and smoke swiftly followed! My life flashing before my very eyes, I kid you not! Being given the opportunity to fully immerse myself in Gargangua’s latest offering ‘Though The Void’ is indeed a welcomed break, from DIY hell!

Since the band released their first album, they’ve been very busy, indeed. Having spent the best part of 2015, recording their debut, I bet when they released it onto the world, they didn’t anticipate the success that album would have, which it did and deservingly so! 2016 was a very busy year for the band. I managed to catch them twice last year, the first was when they took part in the MTTM’s final, in Leicester, at Uprising, which they won, which awarded them a Bloodstock Festival appearance, then later, at Beermageddon. Between the two performances, I noticed a remarkable difference. Although I was initially blown away by their live show, on our first encounter, I was suitably impressed with how much they’d improved, as a live band, come the time I saw them at Beermageddon. I recall the crowds reaction, on that occasion, it was remarkable, everyone was left in ore of these guys, which had left us all wanting more!

Although the band have appeared quite this year, they have in fact managed to venture out, to the Netherlands, where they were invited to play a show with Brujeria. By all accounts, the band enjoyed this experience, as it would appear they’ve managed to secure a few more shows in Europe, but nothing has been official confirmed, as yet.

As I’m now writing a review for album number 2, I now know why these guys have been locked away, all year. In May, the band ventured back to Skyhammer Studios, where they recorded the first album, to record ‘Through the Void’. Although it’s another 4 track, 13mins per track, epic, as with ‘A Voyage in Solitude’ I can assure you, its every bit as amazing as the first journey we embarked on then and now we get to do it all again, marvellous!

Did you know, an album only has to be 27 minutes long, be classed as such? Thanks for that nugget of knowledge, Gareth!

The opening track, starts things off perfectly, courtesy of some “crushing” riffs and vocals, it’s easy to see why the band settled with the track title ‘Crushing Beneath the Tide’! It soon mellows to a more somber affair, only to liven back up again, purposely invoking thought and, in my opinion, forcing the lister on a journey of both body and mind!

Although I’m a great supporter of this bands music and love both their live performance and their recorded material, nothing compared me for the musical genius, that is the self titled track ‘Through the Void’ my word, crushing doesn’t even come close! Having briefly spoken to Gareth, on messenger, to relay my opinion on this track, he too confirmed this is also the bands favourite track off this new album. So I do have a good ear for music! HAHA! The album is a great body of work, in it’s entirety, but this is my stand out track off this new album and I can see myself adding it to many of my current playlists!

In the bands press kit, which is invaluable, by the way and really helps dumbass reviews, like me out, they state that, collectively the band have tried to push themselves, both creatively and sonically and this is clearly evident on this new album. Take a bow, Garganjua. I can already smell the sweat, permeating at a live show, in the ‘not too distant future’ I hope!

The band will be self releasing this new album, on all formats, but as all music lovers know, the best way to listen to music, at home, is on vinyl. The lads in the band know this, which is why they’ve set up a pledge campaign, to get this album released on vinyl, but to do it, they need us, the fans, to make it happen, as it is a very expensive process! As I’m a true fan of this band and their music, I’ve pledged £25, for the signed version of the album. I just hope the band manage to raise the required funds in time, so I can get my grubby hands on my copy!

Pledge link here http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/garganjuavinylpledge

For me, this Garganjua keep the fires burning, bands like Mastadon sparked back in their Leviathan days. Garganjua have been compared with bands like YOB, who I’ve been listening to a lot, lately. Also, Pallbearer and Ahab!

If you’re a fan of all things tuned low and played, relatively slow, then you are a true fan of the musical genre, that is DOOM and like me, you need this new album in your life!

If you’re new to these guys, get a feel for their sound, by streaming their debut EP and first album, via their Bandcamp page, Garganjua.bandcamp.com

Amplified

Live review Sunday 23rd July 2017.

Sunday dawned dry and sunny which is an excellent start to any festival – add in a host of great bands, great music and good company to look forward to and voila, you have day 3 of Amplified Festival 2017!

So, and without further ado, it was time to head on over to the Beer Tent to get acquainted with my first of many Amplified bands and getting my Sunday well underway, were Hell’s Gazelles. This four piece band had brought a pretty dynamic dose of hard hitting rock ’n’ roll up with them from Oxford and if you like to go check out the up and coming bands who pack a punch, then Hell‘s Gazelles need to be at the top of your list!

My first experience of the Red Stripes main stage came courtesy of Instill and once again, here was a band that were new to me and who really do need to be seen and heard when the opportunity arises.

With 2.30pm fast approaching, it brought along with it the ultimate fear of many a festival goer – the stage clash! I desperately wanted to see Garganjua but I also wanted to see Courtesans aswell, so at times such as this, there really was only one decision to make – go see both.

Having had the great pleasure of seeing Garganjua live on a few occasions over the past eighteen months, I really was quite blown away with the strength and power present today within the bands song content and stage presence. Garganjua’s music sits with the mesmerizing genre of doom, but their style of doom is one of the most animated that I’ve seen and these guys certainly put their life’s blood into today’s performance. Intense and bloody marvelous to say the least!

A quick gallop across the field brought me to probably the midway point of the Courtesans set and immediately it was clear to see why this band are such a talking point for so many. Courtesans posses a thought provoking mix of both beauty and the beast – the element of beauty being obvious to the eye, whilst the beast lies within their music and its lyrical capture of the darker side of life. With both elements combined, Courtesans stand tall in a league of their own and their set today was really quite something to behold.

After a quick break, I headed back on over again to The Red Stripes stage to catch Bad Touch who really seem to be making excellent headway on the live music scene and also brought the sun out with them. The bluesy rock and roll just flows from this band and their set this afternoon certainly delivered that good time festival feel to one and all.

Next up for me were In Search Of Sun and once again, these guys were another must see band of the day. The one thing that I find really interesting about In Search Of Sun is that they manage to span the boundary between hard rock and metal with effortless ease, resulting in songs that can fit whatever your mood or particular preference is and today’s set from them certainly hit the right spot indeed!

As afternoon turned into early evening, it was time to go check out Massive over on the Red Stripe stage and if I were to choose my favourite performance of the day, then these guys would be it. Not only do Massive deliver a colossal dose of great rock and roll but their infectious personalities and humour just fixed the smile on my face from start to finish.

And carrying on in that same vein of big rock sounds – but this time in a more melodic style, were my next band of the day, Vega. I first saw Vega several years back in 2011 at Firefest so it was excellent to see them up on stage again today and clearly at the top end of the melodic rock ranks.

Amplified Festival has given me, and quite possibly many others, the chance to see bands who I haven’t come across before and I have to hang my head in shame and confess that Unzucht were one such band. With a sound and style that is darkly charismatic, their set today was an absolute excursion into the depths of industrial metal and an experience that I will look forward to repeating again!

Today had definitely brought about some pretty impressive performances and with that thought in mind, my next pit stop was Heck but boy oh boy, in no way was I prepared for the madness and mayhem that these guys were about to unleash! Heck are most definitely not for the faint hearted as they pack a punch on par with a charging rhinoceros and that was really quite something to witness.

With daylight finally slipping away into night, our two remaining bands of the day held the honour of bringing Amplified Festival 2017 to a close and with those bands being Reef and Diamond Head, then I just knew that this would be an ending to remember.

With the Red Stripes stage lit to cool blue perfection and ready to rock, 90’s icon’s Reef took to the stage amidst some of the warmest cheers of the day and what a set they gave us indeed. With many of their past iconic songs being given the big seal of approval from the audience, this was a pretty cool trip down memory lane for sure, but I did love the fact that newer tracks were included aswell and hope we will have plenty more Reef to look forward to.

And so, my last band of the day were to be Diamond Head and you just gotta love these guys as they always give 110% with each and every performance and all their great songs, both old and new just kept coming tonight. It certainly seemed like both band and fans alike were set on enjoying the moment and with plenty of dates still in their diary for 2017, do make a point of getting to see them live if you can.

I must add that Jay Hawkin’s had chance to chat with Karl Wilcox from Diamond Head earlier in the day so be sure to check that out here.

Looking back on my day at Amplified, I can only say that it was a great day and an experience that I would happily repeat and recommend. So huge thanks going out the Gary Paterson and everyone whose hard work, can do attitude and helping hands, made this festival something pretty special to be part of. My one regret from today was not checking out the Tavern Stage, so I do give my sincere apologies for that.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle

Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club Friday 19th August 2016.

As summers go, I’ve had a pretty shit one to be honest and with other festivals done and dusted, Beermageddon is the one summer festival that we here at music224 always look forward to with open arms. And long may that continue as we plan on attending every year that this festival is on – providing they want us! Read on to discover why we think this festival is a must in your summer calendar for 2017!

Jim Beerman

Many people arrive on the Thursday now, set up camp and make a holiday of it and why not! Thankfully, the weather is usually pretty good at the end of August, so camping isn’t usually an issue. The on-site facilities at Bromsgrove’s Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club are improving every year but for those who seek plusher accommodation, there are plenty of affordable rooms at hotels close to the venue. I’ve only ever camped at Beermageddon once in the five years that it’s been held and this is something I need to rectify because I miss out on so much of the fun that goes on over the weekend – I’m just shit building a tent! Haha!

Friday is fun day and personally, my favourite day of the weekend as it’s the day everyone makes an effort to dress up. This years theme was Vikings, obviously! As the contestants lined up to be judged, by us the crowd, each was eliminated when Jim asked us to shout the loudest for our favourite costume. I’m aware Clare and Wolfie’s daughter took part this year, this being her first year at Beermageddon but sadly she didn’t win although she came a respectable second. The winner, however, was a deserved winner and the same person that also won the event last year. For his efforts, he won a pair of ticket for next years event (AGAIN), to which Jim asked him, ‘Are you ever going to buy a ticket to Beermageddon?’. Sadly I don’t know the young mans name, but it was a great costume!

At 6pm sharp, Prolapse AD took to the stage to officially open the festival. First though, a rousing speech was delivered from the Master of Ceremonies himself, Mr Jim Beerman, the festival’s organiser and adjudicator. Jim’s even an ordained minister, which is technically a Pagan Priest and he has successfully conducted a wedding, every year on the Sunday, since the festival began five years ago!

Matthew White - Prolapse AD

As you’d expect, the first band on had to make an impression and I think we can safely say Prolapse AD did just that, as the people that I spoke to over the weekend absolutely loved these guys! Primarily thrash, they remind me of Slayer but with a lot more energy and personality! The bands front man, Alex Lewis was a very charismatic and energetic young man, trying to capture him, on camera was hard work but the crowd loved it. These guys were the perfect openers, they even got the crowd moving, with the best mosher winning a t-shirt!

Having never seen The Dead XIII before, nothing prepared me for what I was about to see. The band are from Manchester and I could easily compare these guys to The Defiled in both their appearance and their style of music. The lead singer however, is totally unique and a complete inspiration in my book as I’ve never seen a front man with only one arm, play in a band and stand in-front of the crowd completely comfortable with their appearance as an amputee, and it certainly didn’t prevent him from belting out those songs! Kurt Blackshard, we salute you, you sir are an inspiration, respect!

The Dead XIII

Boy, it’s the half way mark for the bands tonight, so that can only mean one thing, Beerma-Bingo! Last year, the Boat Race was a highlight and a lot of fun so I was looking forward to this! If you can imagine getting 600 people around your house for a party, this is what you get at Beermageddon with everyone having a great time, drinking, laughing, yet someone else clears up the mess! So the rules of this game were simple – those participating had to split into two groups and each person was given a ball with a number on it. When your number got called out, you had to rush to the front and down a glass of mead and the first group to get all their players numbers called out and having downed a glass, won, only it’s never that simple with the Beermageddon lot, which just adds to the fun. Lets just say, a lot of people lost their balls!

Beerma-Bingo

Garganjua took to the stage soon after the party games were over and it’s safe to say that people were in high spirits for these guys – well, they were full of mead! Having successfully gone through the MTTM’s final over at Leicester’s successful event ‘Uprising’, this meant the band would play at Bloodstocks, New Blood Stage, which I heard went down very well and having missed them there, I was keen to see how they faired here. Since that gig in Leicester when I last saw them, Garganjua have played many other shows up and down the country and already I could see a vast improvement with the bands ability to play alongside each other. They appeared to be a lot more comfortable on stage, performing with each other and this really showed in tonight’s performance, as they were amazing! However, they don’t like their pictures being taken when they perform, which makes promoting them from a visual perspective very difficult. They opt for all blue lighting and lots of smoke, which sucks for me but I’ve hopefully said enough here to make you want to go see these guys live for yourself, as their music really does do all the talking. By the end of their set, they had the crowd in fits of hysteria, cheering, shouting, clapping, chanting and above all, wanting more. I’m going to predict these guys will be back at Beermageddon in 2017, for more of Doom’s finest!

Scott Taylor - Garganhua

Having played at Beermageddon last year, Gehtika won the right to come back this year and headline the prestigious Friday night, which is a great honour not only for them but also for the Beermageddon masses, as they are one of the best live acts on the circuit today! As this was a headline set, the band got to perform for a whopping 70mins, which enabled them to play tracks that they wouldn’t normally get time to play. This also enabled them to make their show, a show to remember. To help them achieve this, they enrolled the services of Haerken, who played a brilliant part in making this show a show that people will speak of, for a long time to come – lets just say the confetti cannons helped it all go off with a bang! Every member of the band is a born performer, who love every minute they are on that stage, entreating the crowd they so love. They can also get said crowd to do anything they want, within reason. I can safely say, tonight’s set had me smiling from ear to ear throughout. The band even stayed and camped the whole weekend, allowing fans the opportunity to talk to, drink with and take selfies with them over the course of the weekend.

Gehtika

I’m also aware that the band all signed one of Marc’s drum cymbals for a young fan, I only know this, because I photobombed the picture they took with the fan, when they presented them with it… sorry buddy! Respect guys!

Roll on Saturday!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)