Gargantua Soul

(Wonderdrug Records 2001)Gargantua Soul - Impact

With obvious Indian influences, Connecticut's Gargantua Soul is, very loosely, a metal band that sometimes incorporate rap. And while that description could send many running in the opposite direction or bring to mind many of nu-metal's uninspiring bands, if you give Gargantua Soul a chance you, instead, find something rather different than you first imagined.

Gargantua Soul's "Impact" gets your attention immediately with syncopated vocals over grinding riffs on "Calling My America" before the, surprisingly, harder and somewhat thrashing intro of the single-worthy "Isabella Madonna" on which lead vocalist Kris Keyes says he "never wants to fight your war" but that "Isabella/My Madonna/I do it all for you." Sounding more hard rock on "Far Away," despite the addition of turn tables to the mix, the band slow down for verses before speeding up again for each chorus. With a simple and good riff on "About Earth," Gargantua Soul slow down a bit -- which makes the song stand out from the previous songs that were harder and more head-on.

But Gargantua Soul also has a rap-metal side that they show on several songs including "Deep Cover" which has unexpectedly catchy rhythmic instrumentation and the, less striking, slower funk-wannabe "Gargantua." The mid tempo and poppish "Wolfvision" has the memorable first lines of "My Buddha's a diabetic/He wakes in the morning to the needle/He sits on his bed and watches TV/Can I help you in the empty." The band quickly speeds up for "Rabbit Song" and get a heavier groove for "Jacob" (with lyrics like "Fear of failure/Always snags my shoe/Fear of failure/Always back to you"). With a groove reminiscent of the 70s for "Shankaracharya" on which, lyrically, they mix in some Indian philosophy. For closing track "Dark Night," the band fall back to the rap-metal scene but add a twist by adding in a chant of "Om guru om guru deva deva/Aja ki jai ananda ki jai." A hidden track not to be missed is also tacked on to the end; melodic and slow, it shows a different side of Gargantua Soul.

"Impact" takes the current music trends and makes themselves much more likable than their mainstream peers. The band remembers the importance of good riffs and never put too much weight on the vocals alone; it is a group effort. And the collection of fast paced songs with a fewer slower is just the right mix.