Girugamesh – Chimera

On January 20th 2016, Girugamesh physically released their new mini album "Chimera" in Japan, and digitally released it in many countries worldwide. The physical European Edition will be out on February 5th, 2016, consisting of a CD plus a DVD, and including five bonus tracks, as well as recordings of their live performance at Studio Coast from March 14th, 2013. All editions feature six new tracks and one remix. It is their second mini album since their last full length album "Monster," which came out at the end of 2013 and was followed by a tour through Europe. Another EU-tour featuring "Chimera" has been announced on the band’s facebook page on January 29th the locations and dates can be found here.

The first track is called "Introduction" and is simply that, an instrumental opening track. It starts with a slow pounding and something that sounds like the blasts of sci-fi guns being fired. Then drums and heavy guitar set in, building up tension with a constant bass line that is soon accentuated by a xylophone. The short track ends in a drawn out note and leaves the listener alerted for the coming tracks.

"Slip Out" picks up the tension with a fast techno rhythm and equally fast drums. The first vocal line “Somebody get me out of here” is heavily distorted and abruptly cut off by Satoshi growling. After an instrumental part that is dominated by guitar and drums, the clear voice vocals set in. There are significant changes in the pace throughout the song, as well as switches in the singing style. It varies from more soft clear voice to more of an edge, followed by growling, distorted parts and screaming of many voices. Overall, "Slip Out" keeps a high pace, mixing techno elements with heavy metal. The ending is rather harsh after just a shortly drawn out guitar riff.

The third track, "Chimera," starts with a guitar solo that at first sounds like it comes from a broken radio, then gradually becomes clearer. It is then replaced by powerful bass and drums which are joined by a very melodic guitar part. Like before, the vocals switch rapidly between different styles and the instruments switch with them, keeping up an exciting atmosphere. At one point it is almost like dark, growling chanting. The sound builds up to be very rich, the heavy rhythm supported by the very melodic guitar and again clear voice. Yet again, the last seconds of the song are hardly drawn out and it ends rather abruptly.

There is no time left to relax, as "Wither Mind" starts out with a fast techno intro that is picked up by drums and bass, as well as the guitar and growling. A kind of threatening atmosphere is added by additional melodic accents of either strings or a keyboard. The recurring aspect on this album seems to be rapid switches between styles and rhythms, and it is also present in "Wither Mind." Towards the end it builds up again with a lot of clear singing, melodic guitar and again a harsh ending.

The beginning of the fifth track "Horizon" sounds more like rave music than metal, but the switch to very fast metal comes soon enough. Satoshi is screaming his lyrics, answered by his band mates over a rhythm like a hard beating heart. Halfway into the song they switch to a more melodic tune and clear voice, accompanied by a choir that could be very well picked up by the audience on live performances. It goes back to the rave like style, inviting to jump along and overall just go crazy, carried away by the music. The choir is heard once again, leading to another clear voice part that builds up to the end of the song. "Horizon" clearly has a lot of potential to boil up an audience, and also offers possibilities for the band to interact when live on stage.

"END" is the last new song on this album. It starts out with a kind of distorted musical clock melody that is picked up by the guitar. The melody gets calmer and Satoshi starts singing, sounding a bit breathless in some parts. It is the first time on this album that his calm, strong voice can be really appreciated without the distraction of urgent rhythms. "END" is notably calmer, but no less powerful in its own way. In the chorus we hear accentuations of a second voice in falsetto as well as the already known old radio kind of sound. Towards the end there is another very calm part with acoustic guitar that gets gradually paced up and culminates in a heavy growling final.
The bonus track of all editions is called "Big Bear Remix from Gravitation," and it is difficult to put this eight minutes into appropriate words. It begins with a piano intro and an overall light sound. Satoshi’s voice is distorted in a way that makes him sound like a comic chipmunk in some parts, there are thrilling xylophone rhythms and the overall sound gets squeaky at times. There is a second piano part and after that the song sounds even more distorted. The high pitched sounds are interrupted again and again for just fractions of seconds, other parts sound like they are heavily muffled or the record is scratched on a DJ’s turntable.

"Chimera" in summary can be very energizing or exhausting, depending on how the listener responds to the driving rhythms, fast changes and overall versatile style of the mini album. The significant electronic elements may not be to everyone’s taste, but they seem to be recurring in the work of the band throughout the last few years. "Chimera" is available on the major digital platforms such as Amazon or iTunes, and the physical copy will be distributed in Europe by GanShin Records.


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