Whether naming your debut album Two Titans when you are a duo announcing yourselves with your first release is just asking for trouble or a mark of confidence can be debated until the riffs fall quiet, but in the case of Swedish sludge metallers Galvano, it is pretty apt. Their album is a heavyweight behemoth of towering riffs and rich thick progressive might, a release which grabs you by the throat and feeds the juiciest choice slabs of sonic meat down the throat, and makes the title of their album look quite accurate.
Released on Devouter Records as a limited to 500 coloured vinyl double LP and download, Two Titans is an intense and formidable proposition which rewards fully whilst at times leaning towards numbing the senses. The Göteborg pair of guitarists and vocalist Mattias Nööjd and drummer Fredrik Käll unleash with the eight powerful and memorable tracks, an experience and soundscape which plays on the nerves and ignites the senses. The songs badger and bruise whilst simultaneously flaring up with tight fiery grooves and sonically grafted melodies which tease and please for the fullest satisfaction.
Opener Abysmal is a weighty onslaught of prowling rhythms and twisting enveloping grooves, a track which bewitches as it tramples over the senses with intense passion and giant energy. The vocals of Nööjd scowl with a guttural gait, his squalled growls spewing the heart of the track with formidable passion. Talking about the album the singer had said, “All these songs are personal, all the way throughout the record. They are about personal matters and demons. It’s about finding the darkest corners, the dark lord within and to show up for battle. Portrayed as two titans in constant battle: Good/Evil, Darkness/Light and so on. And sometimes wanting to embrace either side. It’s about knowing when your mind is pulling tricks and being able to stop it. It’s also celebrating our musical force as a duo.” The evidence of his words in the first song alone is open and easily backed up.
From the strong opener the album gets better and better. The following Bleeding Lamb crawls through an avalanche of tumbling rhythms and scarring riffs, its oppressive atmosphere sucking air from the lungs. Despite moments where the song verges on seemingly appearing to tip towards losing control, it is a crushing assault with a smart variation in pace and intensity to leave things perpetually intriguing. The likes of Destroyer with its lumbering doom expanse and the excellent emotive instrumental Hyperion continue to offer a diverse and compulsive turn of affairs, the first simply a mass of intensity and the second a magnetic and irresistible piece of restraint and brewing enterprise.
It can be argued that Two Titans does not offer anything outwardly new and it would be hard to disagree but with the likes of the storm of abrasion that is Ethereal Sword and Punisher with its gnawing and uncompromising intensity let alone creative incitement, the album is perpetually enthralling and heartily invigorating. It is a release which explores and stretches existing doom and sludge metal sonic palates without demanding anything beyond the limits of the genre. It makes for an energising and accomplished force of power and enjoyment, the least any album should offer.
Galvano is a band whose sound belies its compliment of two and leaves a bulging satisfaction with their impressive muscular sound and debut release.
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