Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes
posted on 9/2011 By:
Technique and talent; such things have been proven time after time to not be mutually exclusive by any stretch of the imagination, and there are few better examples of this than what is found in the world of spastic technical death metal. For every Anata, there is a Brain Drill or an Ion Dissonance or any similar act that challenges you to “find the song” amongst a blur of notes and blasts, and personally, I find looking for an impossible needle in the haystack to be aggravating more often than not. Gigan is the exception. This Floridian three-piece first rose into moderate prominence with their 2008 debut, The Order Of The False Eye, which was a mixed bag of crippling Dillinger fervor with the punch of early Negativa and sounded like a band slipping occasionally while attempting to find their proper footing. Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes is the sound of stability swathed in bedlam, establishing Gigan as a band critics love to love, and as that rare act that doesn’t send its listeners soaring hopelessly off a precipice with entropic notes that lead to nowhere. They don’t take it easy on your ears, but at least there is a vivid point to their madness, although it’s not an entirely unfamiliar view.
I can think of few bands that fit onto the Willowtip roster quite as snugly as Gigan, as their volatile mash-up of Crowpath, DEP, and Ulcerate is tailor-made for such a label. For having only three members with which to destroy all, they pack a wallop in each tune the likes of which bands featuring a triple-guitar attack seldom equal. Really, there’s some absolutely crazy shit going on here. Divebombing riffs bathed in deadly sharp tones. Kaish’s drums that sound like forest of limbs being snapped in half, and a deafening roar atop all the pandemonium is what we bear witness to on Landscapes. There’s rarely any hammering of the same note for very long, if at all, as Eric Hersemann’s riffs are nonstop forays which make the best attempt possible to hit every single fucking fret on every string, yet astonishingly, everything is held together in ways that captivate and won’t make you struggle for a handhold. Monstrous opener “Mountains Perched Like Beasts Awaiting The Attack” is tantamount to said mountain collapsing onto you after you’ve fallen down it headfirst; harsh squeals, drumkit-raping runs, and John Collet’s apocalyptic screams let you know immediately that you are in for one hell of a ride, and it doesn’t stop until closer “Fathomless Echoes Of Eternity’s Imagination” collapses onto itself in an almost Everything Is Fire melding of crisp riffs and a brain-melting wave of effects at its conclusion.
In-between those two tunes is a veritable marathon of technique brimming with talent. “Vespelmadeen Terror” (whatever that means) rips out of the gate with force and fury, while “Within The Grasp of A Buried Behemoth” and “Skeletons Of Steel, Timber, And Blackened Granite” both come across like Mastodon on the very finest of hyperactivity-inducing drugs while doing their best to out-Crowpath the defunct New Zealand killing squad, replete with squeaky nuance and dynamic intensity. But forty-five minutes of this ceaseless barrage is not designed for the casual listener. Forget about playing this in the background while attempting to concentrate on other things, because it just isn’t going to happen. Landscapes not only demands attention, it just takes it whether you want it to or not. Through each roller coaster structure and every pounding verse, Gigan commands focus even while going through the most kaleidoscopic motions of songs like “The Raven And The Crow”, and that’s not an easy thing to do per the style they so deftly employ.
While The Order Of The False Eye was no frolic through the park, Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes turns that park into a field of cinder and ash, and does so without an overwhelming amount of needless heft and lumber. Like I said earlier, it’s not too far of a stretch from what you can already find on the Willowtip roster, but Gigan is easily the tightest, cleanest, and most frantic of the bunch. Proceed with caution, or just let yourself be annihilated--it’s fucking bliss either way.
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