Gargoyl – “Gargoyl”

The self titled debut album by Gargoyl can be summed up as Alice in Chains meets Voivod at an Opeth concert. I could just stop there because I think that’s gotta interest a lot of people. And it should! This album was a surprise for me. Taking some obvious yet very different influences and making them work is fascinating. The band was founded by guitarist David Davidson of Revocation and Luke Roberts (Ayahuasca) on vocals and guitar. Each provide the cornerstones for the band’s sound.

The album opens with an a capella song “Truth of a Tyrant ” which is like the Alice in Chains barbershop quartet. Ok maybe not that extreme but you do get an idea of Roberts’ vocal abilities and how easily he would fit into AIC. “Plastic Nothing” kicks in with a climbing riff and chords that the late Piggy of Voivod would love. Once Roberts starts singing, you’ll get my opening description.

It’s definitely worth noting the other members of the band. Drummer James Knoerl is amazing and can basically play anything. Brett Leier has a rumble to his bass tone that does remind me of Blacky. Another favorite track is “Electrical Sickness” which has some fucking insane chords on it that sit atop Leier’s killer bass line.  The mellow “Wraith” is where the Opeth comparison comes in. Opeth has covered AIC. This sounds like AIC covering Opeth.

“Ophidian” has Roberts harmonizing with guest vocalist Jocelyn Barth which just makes for an even odder than usual vibe. Yes I love that. Then there’s “Waltz Dystopia” which starts off like a lost Vulture Industries track before blasting into a frantic Voivodian groove. Amazing. “Acid Crown” is yet another great song that adds some sax to Gargoyl’s sound. The sound eventually gets quite Floydian the process. However, it’s more like Voivod doing another Floyd cover (which they are known for).

To be clear, none of what Gargoyl does sounds like a rip off of any of these bands. They manage to take these clear influences and mix them together to make something new and very interesting. Just when I find myself getting bored with new bands, Gargoyl comes along and twists my brain. Are they grunge? Are they metal? Are they prog? Yes they are all of that and more. By the way, there is no E on the end of the name. This was not a typo but this IS an album you need to check out.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:

1. Truth of a Tyrant (2:30)
2. Plastic Nothing (5:55)
3. Cursed Generation (4:20)
4. Electrical Sickness (6:10)
5. Wraith (5:01)
6. Ophidian (4:42)
7. Nightmare Conspiracy (5:17)
8. Waltz Dystopia (6:18)
9. Ambivalent I (3:58)
10. Acid Crown (5:09)
11. Asphyxia (5:07)

Label: Season of Mist
Release Date: 9 October 2020

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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