Generally I refuse to bow to stereotypes. Just because a band called Garganjua released a debut EP called ‘Trip Wizard’ doesn’t mean that they’ll sound like YOU think they’ll sound. It would be unfair to assume as much. However, in this case, you’re TOTALLY right if you guessed how they sound.
‘Trip Wizard’ is three tracks of rumbling sludge doom, opening with the titanic ‘Huntress’. A slow, creeping intro leads us into a powerful groove. A guttural growl emerges from the riffs, snarling lyrics over a sledgehammer pounding. Garganjua are headcavingly heavy; accentuating the hypnotising vibe is the simplistic but not monotonous riff pattern. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, ‘Huntress’ picks up a groovy, Orange Goblin-esuqe stomp to it in the final minutes that really kills. It seems kind of, well, out of position with where the song seemed to be going, but it’s a hell of a jam.
‘Lazy Green’ is full of bluesy swagger and Clutch style jams, with a more toned down clean vocal performance. It’s a bit more atmospheric, a bit more catchy, and definitely a cool sound. Garganjua seem like a different band on this track, coming somewhere between the heaviness of Orange Goblin and the straight out blues of Clutch. It’s a sound I very much appreciate, but feels strangely disjointed with the rest of the music presented.
The title track is another crushing doom workout, complete with the returning guttural growl. It contains many trademarks of the genre; the slow heft of huge guitar riffs, mournful melodies and a deep despairing feeling in general. It’s deep, cavernous doom; riffs like tectonic plates crashing together with ferocity. There’s something quite Swallow the Sun about this one, with a few Black Sabbathisms thrown into the mix.
Garganjua seem to be confused between two styles here. They want to be both torturously heavy death/doom as well as a more uptempo, stoner doom band. I suggest they pick and stick, because they have potential to be either. If it was up to me, I think the ‘Lazy Green’ way is the path for them, the world has enough slow growling doom in it.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson