Album: Toward the Sun
Label: Holy Roar Records
Genre: Progressive Doom Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: January 17th, 2020
For Fans Of: Pallbearer, Swallow the Sun
We are truly living in the golden age of music and nothing else makes me feel as happy as I do when I think of that. Don’t get me wrong, many older artists and records are fantastic in their own respective way, as those artists paved the way for where we are today in the world of music. New records from new artists are dropping by the boatloads. It is physically impossible to check everything that is coming out, but at least that means that I am never at a loss for new music. Given the ease and accessibility for artists to create and record music entirely on their own, it opens countless doors. It seems that I find something mind-blowing almost every day now; I wonder what I am going to find next… And cue Garganjua, the next Holy Roar powerhouse of a band.
Garganjua are dropping what appears to be their third full length record, and it truly shocks me that I have never heard of them, nor have any of my fellow friends who are also musically inclined. If I had to describe their sound or genre, I’d say that they’re teetering the line between post-metal and progressive doom metal, and I myself would most certainly be on board if someone were to recommend me a band that sounded as such. On Toward the Sun, you can expect a seamless and hypnotizing ebb and flow between the softer and atmospheric clean passages and the crushing and heavy riffs and screams. This record will make you feel the wide range of human emotions, from sorrow to joy, from love to hate, from anger and denial to acceptance.
Transcending opens this behemoth of a record with a monologue accompanied by the softest atmosphere imaginable, only to seamlessly transition into the following track, The New Sun. It is nearly impossible to distinguish were the first track ends and the second begins without looking at the timestamp, and little things like that are beyond satisfying; this record just flies by with how engaging it is. The soft and luscious guitar arpeggios in the beginning of The New Sun make me feel as if I am soaring through the clouds, well, that is until the massive chords come in and violently sends me back down through the ground. The doom influence is obvious at this point, very slow and broody and just pure emotional power being unleashed. The track continues back and forth between these slow doomy riffs and distant melodic tapping alongside mesmerizing clean vocals that are so alluring given the dark and gloomy soundscape you will find yourself lost in. There are moments like these found all over the record in which the band smoothly goes back and forth between heavy distortion and buttery leads. Transcendence is a powerful instrumental that is very post-metal influenced and is followed by riff central, Light Bearer. There are just so many moments dispersed throughout Toward the Sun in which the slow and whopping guitar chords just make the world feel like it is going to collapse around me, especially on Light Bearer, but yet my qualms are resolved in the back half of this specific track with the soaring cleans and the intoxicating background vocals.
Controlling Waves makes me realize how much the clean vocals remind me of fellow doom gargantuans, Pallbearer and weirdly enough, Mastodon. Alongside The New Sun and Light Bearer, Controlling Waves remains one of the standout tracks on the record with the catchiest of riffs, the most atmospheric of passages, and even more catchy clean vocals and a sweet and simple, yet powerful guitar solo to close out the track. Despite this being one of my favorite tracks on the record, there are two sharp transitions from the heavy passages to the soft and atmospheric passages and vice versa and it isn’t necessarily the smoothest, but it could’ve been a done a little neater.
Toward the Sun is filled to the brim with the most luscious of atmospheric sections that are enough to make a grown man cry. I also cannot forget the riffs that have the weight of a mammoth that never fail to make me do the stankface. Despite being a doom record primarily, the clean sections aren’t forced nor gimmicky, as it is a living organ that is vital to the performance and survival of the rest of the organism, that organism being Toward the Sun. Garganjua effortlessly prove that they have the dynamic ability and the chops to create some truly engaging music with Toward the Sun. There is not a single moment that feels like it drags on nor is forced. Everything feels so organic and fluid and from the very first playthrough alone, I already knew that this record would be in heavy rotation. Given that this is a relatively new artist on Holy Roar Records, I can confidently say that I expected absolutely nothing less than the grandiose experience that I had with this special record.
- The New Sun
- Light Bearer
- Controlling Waves
- To Ascend (Awakening)
Total Playing Time: 48:41