Gaffa Ghandi are a four-piece outfit from Berlin, Germany consisting of Georg Edert – Drums, Lucas Kazzer – Bass, Frieder Ackermann – Guitar and Alan Bittner – Guitar. The band have been in existence for nearly ten years and Artificial Disgust is their first official album.
The band are signed to Exile On Mainstream, who I’m familiar with as a fan of Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, whose bands Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand were signed to them. The label also features diverse acts such as sadly defunct Post-Rockers Ostinato, experimental hip-hoppers Dälek and Noise Rock legends Gore. All well worth a listen.
The artwork of Artificial Disgust, as with the song titles, demonstrates the bands offbeat sense of humour. The cover for example is of a man resembling Rod Stewart circa late 70’s with leopard skin trousers. This is an instrumental record and features no vocals. Opening track Symphony Of Swag comes across like Elder who they have coincidentally toured with. The use of prog rock in stoner/doom doesn’t always set my world on fire, but Gaffa Ghandi do a pretty good job of it nonetheless.
War On Fire continues the prog with some added chunky riffage that reminds me of Master Of Puppets era Metallica. It’s also the first of 2 songs to feature some nice Mellotron courtesy of Torsten Lang (who also mixed and mastered the album), this helps to add some diversity to the track. Next up is the over 9-minute Ancient Dominator and the second longest track on the record. To my ears there is a slight 70’s intonation here, with touches of fellow countrymen the Scorpions when Uli John Roth was in the band, hence why the riff is so damn good. More Mellotron is employed which adds to the 70s vibes of the track.
The band, despite the humour of the song titles and album cover, are deadly serious when it comes to the music and they are damn good at it too…
Penultimate number, the portentously titled Progressive Concepts for a Modern World Of Multilayered Structural, Sociological And Individual Changeabilities is the longest on the album at a mammoth 16:28. It starts off slowly before a plaintive guitar riff rings out at near the one-minute mark. We’re then presented with the kind of prog-rock that reminds me of German 70’s outfits such as Eloy and Nektar, no bad thing by any means. There is also some heavier riffing that recalls another of my favourite artists, Karma To Burn, albeit with a less whisky soaked desert vibe. There are some nice tempo changes which makes the track an intriguing listen, albeit one you need to listen to a few times to fully digest, one could make the same argument for the album.
Bonus track Phobophobie concludes the record and starts around 25 seconds in. There is more directness here which having followed a 16-minute track is welcome. The main riff is absolutely blinding, making this possibly one the heavier tracks on the album, curiously reminding me of early Deftones Around The Fur era with some Helmet thrown in. Cool stuff.
In conclusion Gaffa Ghandi are a confusing band who defy expectations. The band, despite the humour of the song titles and album cover, are deadly serious when it comes to the music and they are damn good at it too with some excellent musicianship. The problem I feel is more with me than the band, as mentioned earlier in the review, prog within the stoner/doom scene has always left me a little cold. Although the likes of Baroness, Mastodon and Elder do little to nothing for me, this is nonetheless a worthwhile release that fans of those bands will be able to fully appreciate.
Scribed by: Reza Mills