Ggu:ll have finally released that long awaited full length, titled Dwaling. Its title would translate as ‘error’, but it feels slightly more like being lost in the dark. In the darkness of Ggu:ll there might actually dwell monsters. That’s what their album, presented during Incubate live, seems to tell us.
The band from Tilburg in the south of The Netherlands, which you might know from a little festival named Roadburn, released an EP in 2014. A steady stream of gigs puts us on this point, where an album finally is unleashed upon the world, but be wary, because Dwaling is a frightening beast.
There is something unholy to the sound of Ggu:ll, something sinister, looming and lurking in the dark. The laborious riffing takes a slow trudging pace that never really embraces the same sort of urgency the vocals convey. It’s the sound of a prowling predator, patiently waiting with fully tensed muscles. It will catch its prey and tear it apart in the end. That’s Hoon, the opening track of the record. The riffs casually linger, creating an eerie drone. The vocals are demanding though, harsh and full of venom.
The best example of that is the intro on the title track Dwaling (Gehirn Und Abgrund). The resounding notes are bleak and keep going for a nerve-rackingly long time. While the tempo holds to its steady, torturous pace, the sound of the vocals and effects becomes a blurted nightmare of maddening shrieks. It’s kind of fitting, since vocalist William Van der Voort admitted in an interview that his vocals are more phonetic, trying to enrich the music. That means on this album that the vocalist sometimes sings with the music, but on this track radically against it.
Exception to the non-worded singing is the track Het Smerige Kleed Van De Ziel (The Dirty Cloth Of The Soul). Vocals are provided on this track by Van der Voort, joined by Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood). Her blood-curdling vocals work very well with the abysmal sound of Ggu:ll. The droning doom appears to reform itself around the vocals of the singer. Shrieks of despair can be heard while the song slowly sinks away into the abyss. It allows for a more languid sound, with thudding drums that keeps the listener on their toes. Crushing hits on the skins make it all the more grand sounding together with dissonant riffs. It doesn’t make tracks like Waan sound any cosier though.
Het Masker Van De Wereldt Afgetrocken (The Mask Of The World Pulled Down) presents the listener with the same droning doom and grief filled vocals, but adds a more funeral doom like element to it. It’s like the song is lamenting a world that is unmasked. There’s less of the threat and fire of the other tunes on the record, but much more emotion woven into the slow, melancholic riffs. That is also the case on March 28 1941, Drowning. The song slowly builds up, with sad and meandering tones, to tell the story of Virginia Wolf’s suicide. It’s what the song title refers to, though I doubt the author ever imagined such a harrowing tribute.
What an album this is, filled with emotions, raw energy and a sense of atmosphere that is uncanny. I can’t wait to hear what this band may offer us in the future. Dwaling is a masterfully crafted record, for sure.
Scribed by: Guido Segers