Review – Gigan: Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes

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Review – Gigan: Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes
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Gigan, named after the science fiction creature in Japanese cinema best known for going up against Godzilla, is a Death Metal/Grindcore act from Tampa, Florida. The group formed back in 2006 and issued their first full-length recording through Napalm Records, as well as an EP prior to it through Index Entertainment. For their follow-up full-length release, the band has found a home at the very appropriate label of Willowtip Records. With that, the group’s highly technical mixture of Death Metal and Grindcore continues to grow properly. Spanning a total of nearly forty six minutes in eight tracks, this group brings another audio assault as gigantic as the monster battles in Japanese cinema their name reflects.

There is no denying the overall brutality and intensity with each track of Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapoes. The music here feels absolutely chaotic at times as well, and the addition of random science fiction sound effects such as computer effects at the start of “Suspended in Cubes of Torment” add to the wide array of madness, especially when these effects appear at key moments of the songs to solidify that sensation of chaos amongst the rather epic and technical soundscapes that Gigan brings forward with this recording. The only complaint with these effects is that sometimes they can seem to just prolong the start or end of a song, or even feel drawn out like at the start of “Mountains Perched Like Beasts Awaiting the Attack” and “Fathomless Echoes of Eternity’s Imagination”, despite how they are implimented to be an intro and outro to the album. The music constantly shifts in a rather Progressive manner, often between furious music at high speeds with great technical precision, to not quite as intense moments but still laced with enough Grindcore that the speed still hammers away at the listener. This becomes the case right off the band with “Mountains Perched Like Beasts Awaiting the Attack”, though there is no awaiting for an attack of any kind as after a brief introduction sounds off in the song of sound effects like a space anomaly (which, given the band’s name and where it comes from can remind fans of these giant monster films from Japan of the character Gamera spinning into action, perhaps in a title sequence) before crashing into a catchy, yet technical Death Metal inspired track that flips in and out between Grindcore riddled brutality for quite a long time, never letting up the moment the music begins, leaving the listener to feel as if he or she is literally in the middle of an attack.

Luckily the blend of high-speed technicality and fury with slightly slower brutality isn’t the only method in which Gigan presents themselves on this album. “Suspended in Cubes of Torment” does show the band can handle going at slower speeds, issuing in atmospheres of haunting science fiction-like atmospheres against a very sinister spastic approach to the music. It becomes quite an interesting premise for the full four minutes, and will leave the listener in awe as the band manages to make all of the changes in music and tempo fit and stay fluid from start to finish. These slower elements of the recording are perhaps some of the more impressive elements in the band’s material. While the blistering technicality really shows a band with talent and makes a bludgeoning release, they don’t compare to songs like “Suspended in Cubes of Torment” with it’s unique flow and brutal environment, or “Transmogrification into Bio-Luminoid” and the more Progressive atmosphere they bring into the slower pace of the song that keeps the listener hooked and even sent on a mentally visual journey through much of the song. The variety incorporated by these songs works well to keep it sounding fresh, and keep the faster, heavier songs that are impressive for other reasons, like “The Raven and the Crow” and it’s jaw dropping overly technical moments, sounding fresh and entertaining each time they hit. It also works to show the band’s dexterity as a group, and that they don’t just rely on the impact of those heavier, faster tracks to sell their album.

The overall sound of the recording also is worth taking a look at it, as it does help the overall intensity and brutality of the release. While pretty much everything that makes this album great stems from the talent of the band and their ability to make epic-in-stature technical songs that don’t go over the top while also remaining rather brutal in every track of this recording, the album’s quality is a little different from what one would expect given today’s more pollished and sleek production qualities for technical efforts. Instead, this album sounds rather muddied and, while the bass is still audible, feels a little more driven in a higher pitch then solely focusing on being driven by the bass, though it’s input does add another layer thanks to the more technical chords used on that specific guitar as well. However, the music on here does becomes rather booming from that, especially with the drums, and the volume feels a little louder then what you would expect. This actually kind of hides the vocals in the mix at times, which are much deeper shouts that have some gutteral going on with a heavy distortion. While this may sound bad, it actually helps that aforementioned chaotic factor to the music, and amps up the intensity greatly, allowed the vocals to sound inhuman, and the music to be both energetic, yet give off a matching science fiction-like vibe of being more mechanical or robotic in it’s performance, but have an overall presentation of a roaring beast.

In the end, Gigan deliver once more. Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes is definitely a trip given some of the atmospheric effects thrown in at times, as well as some of the more Progressive elements of the music. However, the group never loses sight of completely dominating the listener with blistering Grindcore and brutalizing Death Metal. The album hammers away from start to finish and simply feels unique for all it’s impressive elements and the talent presented, all the while not falling prey to the staples of many Death Metal/Grindcore acts, as well as the stereotypes for bands of technical musicianship. Overall, if you never heard Gigan before, then you simply must experience Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes, as it’s an album that sounds like a towering behemoth that refuses to be silent.


Initial Pressing Score: 9.5/10