Gargantua – Avant-Propos (Self-Released)

Sunday, 13th March 2016
Rating: 8/10

There’s always the opportunity for metal bands to embrace the strange and avant-garde, but sometimes it just doesn’t come together in the right way. What seems good on paper may not translate into something that’s cohesive or interesting. Thankfully that is not the case on the French band Gargantua with their Avant-Propos EP.

With four tracks and 25-minutes’ worth of music, Avant-Propos gives a good sense of what Gargantua is after. Incorporating everything from accordion and keyboard melodies, to thrashy melodic death metal, to the avant-garde nature of Sigh, to Opeth-ian progressive flourishes, you really can take the “not sure what is around the corner” aspect into high gear. Soft keyboard melodies with clean vocals can quickly explode into crazed shouts, blastbeats, and angular riffing, and then drive forward into a carnival-esque accordion melody (“Threshold of Death Part II: Inherent Lunacy”). But as goofy as the description may sound, it comes across logically, coherently, and confidently. It’s a fun listen because of all of these things – it’s not weird for the sake of just of being weird, but rather fits the mood and purpose. There are moments that have the absurd yet compelling qualities already stated, but there’s a good balance of downright heavy parts (“Ne Mot Dire”) for those looking for something not quite as far out there.

Gargantua gives an interesting perspective for those looking for something a little less conventional with their metal. No doubt there’s some uniqueness to be had here, and it’s not a confounding mess like some bands that veer in this direction. Hopefully all this promise can be melded into a killer full-length without losing its coherence.

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