Genre: Dissonant Death metal
Album: Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence
Release Date: September 15th
Lineup: Eric Hersemann (guitars, bass, synthesizer, theremin, xylophone)
Nate Cotton (drums)
Jerry Kavouriaris (vocals)
I guess there is no album that I was craving to be released as much as Gigan’s latest beast, Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence. It has been four years since they released the majestic Multi-Dimensional Fractal-Sorcery and Super Science. The moment when you see these crazy album and song titles, you know that Gigan is by no means an ordinary band. For those of you who are not familiar with Gigan, they can be described as death metal version of Voivod and Hawkwind on steroids. First thing I wanna mention is that Gigan have a new growler, Jerry Kavouriaris (Elbow Deep; ex-They Die Screaming), who replaced Eston Browne on duty. Frankly, the band’s overall sound didn’t suffer at all, since I wasn’t even aware that this replacement took place until looked at the lineup. And again, Gigan is one hell of a trio which is pretty a unusual thing when it comes to death metal bands.
The album opener, Wade Forward Through Matter and Backwards Through Time (well, the song title itself is not as long as Nile’s Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks from He Who is in the Water) starts pretty damn slow with this Deathspell Omega-like repeating chord progression. What got me first are the drums which sound as if you were listening to the band live. The band slowly gets out from the dizziness and gets into berserk mode with a lot of guitar screeching and tremolo violence. For a moment, I thought that I was listening to Portal because the guitars get all muddy and stuff, but as the song goes on, these previously incomprehensible riffs get more „clarity“ (but I’m still talking about noise). Then, things get slightly slower with a two-tone riff when the „leads“ kick in. The track itself gets more ambiental, cosmic feel to it. It seems as if the band is drifting through galaxies, and that each riff represents a different one. The solo in the end is kickin’! Afterall, it seems that the album opener is the weakest song when compared with the rest of the tracks. Elemental Transmography is a more of a straight forward thing, with this melodic riff that suddenly transforms into a monster from outer space. This massive meat grinder is a perfect combination of Jerry's chaotic vocals and Eric's rattling guitar riff. The song itself gets a melodic guitar boost and then, once again, it becomes a monster with thousand faces. These three to four note guitar licks is what Eric Hersemann is the best at. His sense of mediation between technical and simple stuff is what makes him one of the greatest guitar players within the genre. All of a sudden, the song becomes a space oddisey of sorts.
Plume of Ink Within a Vacuum starts with this phaser effect that perfectly consumes the riff. Nate Cotton is dominating the drums all the way. No matter what this guy plays, it just sounds outstanding! Plume is by far one of the strongest tracks on this album. At first, Eric beats the living shit out of guitar strings and then lowers the bar by playing a slower, less frantic riff. Then, this eerie guitar sound is all of a sudden replaced with a brain-sucking riff. The minimalistic solo really contributes to the whole thing perfectly. Ocular Wavelenght's Floral Obstructions starts with one of the most badass riffs of our time! Screeching noise is spewed all over the place! Eric is delivering soul-crushing, awkward sounding riffage. For a while, the song sounds like a train wreck and then transforms into calm, galactic journey through space and time. When I look back, that opening riff should be the theme song for Cthulhu’s awakening or something. With Hideous Wailing of the Ronowen During Nightshade you will feel the waves of dissonance that are consuming your senses! First riff definitely has a hypnotic effect to the listener. Eric’s usage of guitar effect gives an unearthly vibe to the record. With a bit of delay on the guitar, you might depict a meteor shower destroying everything on its path. That’s how Gigan’s music really sounds like! Previously slow-paced song all of a sudden becomes more chaotic and destructive in no time. And then, drifting-in-space effects kick in, but the song itself ends like a raging head-splitter on the loose. Hyperjump-Ritual Madness is some heavy dosage of dissonance right from the start. These twisted, eerie riffs sound as if they were played by some freakin’ praying mantis, floating in space! Outstanding stuff! Merciless screeching and fly-by effects will definitely make you leave your comfort zone for good! Kevin’s contribution to this record is undeniable. Even though the song gets slower, all of a sudden this wierd-as-fuck riff kicks in, like a serpent of some sorts. Clockwork with Thunerous Grooves sounds as badass as the songtitle itself. It is more of a straight forward kind of thing, with blast beats and double bass on the loose. And really, how many times have you heard wah-wah in a death metal song? Melodic riff that follows is one of Eric’s finest! Guitars are imbued with tons of effects but they all perish once the dissonance kicks in. Nate Cotton is beating the shit out of the drums. He really knows to make things more interesting. The riff fest continues as Eric is delivering this schizophrenic jo-jo riff. The words are just not enough to describe how awesome this song is! The last song on the record, In Between, Throughout Form and Void is jaw-dropping for sure! It is also one of the longest tunes with awesome usage of effects. The riffs are perfectly arranged. Then things get slower and ambiental for a while. Haunting noise and calm drumming perfectly contribute to the chilling atmosphere for quite a while. All the chaos is cast aside and the bands get into a jam mode. State of calmness is shortly interrupted by savage sonic attacks and then Eric delivers his simplistic, easy to listen solo which is then followed by weird-as-fuck opening riff.
With every new record, Gigan manages to outdo itself. It seems that this hellish, out-of-space-and-time trio has cast aside all of the cliches and limitations tied to the death metal music in general. NGigan’s music may be described as a sponge full of noise, chaos and dissonance. The lyrics and the overall feel to the record may sound futuristic but what’s most striking about this band is that their music is quite ahead of its time.