French metal that isn’t afraid to embrace the weird.
Far too often, the denizens of this particular internet bathroom facility loudly decry bands that offer anything resembling a “mainstream metal” sound. It’s understandable, many of us have been listening to metal for years and years; we just can’t get our kicks from the same old tricks anymore. The Toilet ov Hell is awesome at celebrating fringe acts that don’t get the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately, some of our underground favorites like Skáphe and Ehnahre are a real challenge for newbies to fully enjoy. Today I’ve got great find for those of you that can’t fully groove on the abrasive sounds of The Body but still wanna step outside of your metal comfort zone.
Formed in 2013, Gargantua hail from Paris and create populist yet experimental metal that errs on the side of fun rather than rote technical noodlery or patience-testing indulgences. On Avant-Propos, their debut EP, Gargantua fully embrace their French roots with touches of bawdy accordion melodies on top of a sonic skeleton amassed of Enslaved and Soilwork. The four tracks on this EP show off a band that boldly combines clear production, big riffs, and clever flourishes of the unexpected.
Intro track “A Delightful Sense of the Absurd” delivers upon the premise of its title; the song rips open with a thrash riff straight from the blackened gates of Euro Disneyland. A keyboard comes along for the ride and somehow doesn’t derail the rollercoaster, leading right up to a carnivalesque breakdown to add visions of unsavory carnies and lax safety regulations.
“Threshold of Death part I: Gutters” and follow-up “Threshold of Death part II: Inherent Lunacy” saddle a strange medium somewhere between Sigh and The Black Dahlia Murder. Rather than cycling through a series of interchangeable riffs and breakdowns, these tracks veer down unexpected alleyways. Halfway through the former, the track breaches Opeth territory and embraces their prog side throughout the ride. For the latter, Gargantua unleash accordion on top of speedy arrangements like the flashing lights of a dingy old arcade. Closer “Ne Mot Dire” is a walk down a sinister boardwalk that offers plenty of out-of-this-world widdly-diddly dazzle to delight sharps and rubes alike.
Avant-Propos is a brief but welcome introduction to a young band with an exciting future. This EP is a name-your-own-price download at the band’s Bandcamp, where you can also purchase this adorable dog-endorsed CD for six “Euros”, whatever those are. Stay up to date with Gargantua on Facebook and tell ’em the Toilet says “Bonjour”.