Gigan
The Order of the False Eye

Sometimes you see an album cover and just hope that the music inside matches the imagery. In this case, the graphic of five masked phantoms, convened like some interdimensional alien tribunal, could have just been another slapped-on gimmick – but thankfully, it’s the perfect visual for one of the more harrowing and hypnotic tech-death albums I’ve heard in awhile.

At first, Gigan seems like classic Carcass being delivered by The Dillinger Escape Plan: spastic, frantic and unusual riffs delivered with devious, mathematical precision. And yes, we’ve heard that sound before – but I can’t remember anything quite this psychedelic. And not in the usual sense, either.

There are no overt nods to 70s prog-rock here – no Hammond organs, no lilting clean vocals and no graceful, expansive jams or reveries. This is more like a bad acid trip – dense, jagged and constantly mutating, like being trapped inside a kaleidoscope of broken glass. In fact, the one band that keeps popping into my head as I listen to this isn’t tech-death or grind at all – it’s USBM act Averse Sefira, whose chaotic, shapeshifting black metal (particularly Tetragrammatical Astygmata) eventually reveals a more deliberate structural methodology.

Like that album, each of the tracks on The Order of the False Eye features inventive, fractured riffs scrambling over drums that seem like machine-gun spray, but are actually an artfully controlled nexus of ricochets. And luckily, it’s not all wankery and pyrotechnics – Gigan seems to know that this type of mathematic assault can become tiring, so they shift dimensions at the right time, taking the listener into a fat, elastic groove (“Undead Auditory Emanations”) or a haunting dreamscape (“Occult Rites of the Uumphuy”). That way, when the geometric psychosis comes screaming back in, it’s all the more jarring.

This is perfectly displayed by the aptly titled “Hiding Behind the House of Mirrors,” an 8-minute nightmare which acts as the album’s centerpiece. “Mirrors” opens with a undulating cloud of feedback phantasmagoria, then explodes into a mantra of stuttering math-metal. Halfway through, things get really weird – a peculiar, contorted riff shrieking over a more subdued, wandering ambient guitar line below. It comes off like Mithras as interpreted by Blut Aus Nord, and it’s one of the more mesmerizing and memorable metal passages I’ve heard in a long time.

Despite all the chaos, I actually found this far more listenable than something like Cephalic Carnage or Odious Mortem, whose compositions always seem to have lots of great bits, but never gel as compelling songs, let alone as albums. And true, Gigan is not easy listening, but it’s worth the invested effort. Definitely not for everyone, but highly recommended for tech-death fans or anyone who wants something really challenging and captivating.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
July 28th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Belgarath

    Great review, man. This band sounds sweet, I’ll have to check them out.


  2. Commented by: gordeth

    Great review. This sounds very interesting. I’ll be checking it out for sure.


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    cool, let us know what you think. been playing this a lot lately.


  4. Commented by: Dan

    Having just given them a listen, I have to agree with the review. Every time the spastic chaos starts to get a little overwhelming they shift into something you can latch onto. A lot of tech-death bands could learn from this. Regardless, I expect the new Gorod to bury them all in a blizzard of memorable finger bending riffage.


  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    when is the new Gorod coming out anyway? they posted a video of two demos from the new one on their myspace, it sounded sooooo fucking good.

    honestly I would love it if Gorod did an unplugged album, I think it’d be amazing. I love that little hopalong that closes out the last track on Leading Vision.


  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    This is different than all other techie bands. They sound more chaotic and erratic, but with great songwriting chops. New contender for album of the year, methinks.


  7. Commented by: axiom

    I may just buy this on the review alone. Good job.
    Sound quality?


  8. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Not to be a downer-i couldnt get into this at all.


  9. Commented by: gabaghoul

    axiom: sound quality is great, nice and crisp. mixed well too – nothing overpowers anything else.


  10. Commented by: Staylow

    This sounds interesting – I’ll have to check it out.

    Speaking of Gorod, I’m also looking forward to their new one. About 2 years ago, one of my Pandora radio stations played a song from Neurotripsicks that completely blew me away – been a follower since.


  11. Commented by: Anxiety Hangover

    Portal. I can’t be the only one who hears shades of those Australian weirdos in this. I’m definitely liking this though, good stuff.


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