From their Bandcamp page, "GARGOYL's unique blend of Elegant Prog and familiar Grunge gestures side-steps […]
October 19, 2020
Gargoyl - Gargoyl album cover

From their Bandcamp page, "GARGOYL's unique blend of Elegant Prog and familiar Grunge gestures side-steps any one genre. The new band forges their own path through the musical ether with subdued exploration that explodes into driving backbeats and ringing vocal harmonies. Featuring Luke Roberts from the dynamic AYAHUASCA on guitar and vocals alongside the virtuosic talent of REVOCATION mastermind Dave Davidson, this fresh collaboration sees them expand their repertoire to create something fresh, fascinating and far-reaching." Their debut album contains eleven tracks.

"Truth of a Tyrant" leads off the album, with acapella, harmonized vocals done with a bit of a melancholy sound. "Plastic Nothing" opens with some jazzy sounds coming from the drummer. The vocals are where you get the Grunge sound from, and the Progressive sounds come from the instruments. The vocal harmonies return after the half-way mark, where the music drops to mostly drums. "Cursed Generation" opens with Grungy bass guitar notes and that familiar ALICE IN CHAINS sound from yesteryear. It's an odd mix of Progressive elements that I'm just not quite sold on yet.

"Electrical Sickness" opens with more Progressive elements, eerie guitars and a thick bass line. The harmonized vocals work fairly well here. The low end of things here is quite dissonant. The bass guitar chugs away nicely here. "Wraith" opens with clean guitar notes and that familiar Grunge sound in the vocals. The Progressive elements come mostly from the meter shifting. The entire song has an ethereal feeling to it, from the clean guitars to the lively bass notes. "Ophidian" opens with some guitar dissonance and a meaty bass line again. This time, the vocal harmonies don't quite work as well as they did in other songs. There is just a bit of disconnect here. As it moves forward, it clicks a little better, but it's an odd song overall. "Nightmare Conspiracy" begins with some Progressive elements in the form of the timing. The vocal harmonies are back again...a staple on the album so far, but again, it's not quite working for me.  The dissonance is pushed up here, but the guitar solo is skillfully done.

"Waltz Dystopia" begins with a slower pace, and more of that guitar dissonance. The real hero of the band is bassist Brett Leier. He carries much of the sound in the manner in which he plays, and his thick dancing is one of the better parts of the album for me. "Ambivalent I" features a faster moving song with a thick bass line and meaty guitars. It slows to some clean guitar notes, and harmonized vocals again. Guest vocalist Jocelyn Barth provides the harmonies here. The mix of Progressive elements with Grunge is starting to win me over. "Acid Crown" opens with more incongruous guitars, which again seems to be a staple on the album. It stays in that realm throughout the song. The sound drops a bit after the half-way mark, leading to a celestial sound with Erik Van Dam on the sax.

"Asphyxia" opens with a dreamy sound, from light, clean guitars. Everything is dialed back just a bit here. Asphyxia is defined as slow deprivation of oxygen, and that is exactly what this song sounds like, as it builds moving forward. Overall, I gotta say, this was one of the most unique albums I have ever listened to. Progressive Grunge? I don't think I have ever heard those two words used in the same sentence. Indeed, Progressive music is really the antithesis of the "less is more" Grunge genre if you think about it. I had to give the album several listens before making up my mind, and then the larger picture began to unfold. The darkness and dissonance that permeated the album is what seems to provide the edge here...that, and some fantastic guitar and bass work, going places less traveled. This is definitely something for those seeking music off the beaten path.

8 / 10









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"Gargoyl" Track-listing:

1. Truth of a Tyrant
2. Plastic Nothing
3. Cursed Generation
4. Electrical Sickness
5. Wraith
6. Ophidian
7. Nightmare Conspiracy
8. Waltz Dystopia
9. Ambivalent I
10. Acid Crown
11. Asphyxia

Gargoyl Lineup:

Luke Roberts - Guitar/Vocals
David Davidson - Guitar
Brett Leier - Bass
James Knoerl - Drums

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