Review Summary: Tears into the soul of the listener, either ripping it out or soothing it.
If you really dig deep into a band’s name, you can discover the beliefs and the opinions of the members of the band, and sometimes even the motivation behind their lyrics. If it’s a serious band name, you can also tell that the band members take themselves seriously, and aren’t in the business just to become a joke or laughing stock, whether said band is talented enough. For example, Rise Against infers revolution and going against the grain, and many of the group’s lyrics talk of this. Red’s name comes from blood and passion, and they create very passionate music. Project 86’s name infers being different and willing to stand against corruption, and the group made an entire record (Truthless Heroes
) defying corruption and it’s evils. However, bands like Steel Panther and Limp Bizkit have humorous names, and music that’s at best fun parody, at worse miserable to get through. So when a band called Girugamesh comes along, taken from Final Fantasy character, listeners may be tempted to shut them out as another parody band with a laughable name. But, don’t have a fit of frustration about another parody band. Girugamesh live up to the hype of the FF games, and deserve more than a few listens.
Girugamesh does take a great deal of their core sound from American nu-metal, but don’t let that tune you out. The album bleeds of an angsty, dirty energy rivaled only by early Slipknot, and therefore sounds less like a passing fad and more like what it is: a thirteen-track thrill ride of pure, unrivaled aggression. Vocalist Satoshi has the ability to alternate between demonic growls, soothing cleans, and gut-wrenching screams, tearing into the soul of the listener, and either promptly ripping it out or soothing it. As well as nu-metal, the band incorporates industrial and slight metalcore influences into their sound, at times giving the impression of a heavier Nine Inch Nails. In addition, although the lyrics are in Japanese, don’t let that throw you. Just because you can’t properly pronounce them doesn’t mean they won’t be stuck in your head, and the guys of the band can write a catchy chorus or two.
Speaking of band members, another formidable highlight is guitarist Nii. He switches between crunchy, animalistic riffs, eerie picking, and powerful mini-solos. His riffs shine on tracks like opener “Patchwork”, which is a high-energy, adrenaline-junkie go-to pump-up track with angry growling and thrashing instrumentation, and “Vermillion”, an Underoath-esque song that’s almost overcome by driving distortion and powerful vocals. For quieter moments, look to his picking on “Shiroi Ashiato”, a bluesy song that sounds like a cross between a classic western movie and a modern spy flick. Speaking of “Shiroi”, bassist Shuu has an incredible performance, practically carrying the under-current of the song. The intro to “Crazy Flag” is dominated by his menacing bass line and adrenaline-arousing electronics, and that same down-tuned bass line comes in much later in the song, which is also dominated by a rousing drum performance. On the slower side, “Dance Rock Night” is a pop rock song with a groovy bass line, smooth vocals, and a fast-paced drum beat, as well as more punchy, distorted riffs and slap-and-pop bass. This song probably demonstrates the group’s cohesive chemistry the best out of all the others on the record.
With their second outing, Girugamesh avoided a sophomore slump and pounded through a high-octane, blood-pumping musical journey likely to get any metal/hard rock lover on their feet, headbanging and screaming in pure bliss. Don’t let the band’s nu-metal tendencies get in the way, Girugamesh are an extremely enjoyable listen. Pick up this record, you will not be disappointed.