Released: 2013, Willowtip Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Self-described purveyors of “state-of-the-art psychedelic extreme metal,” Chicago's Gigan are an exercise in extravagance and eccentricity. Taking their name from the cybernetic, buzzsaw-chested, steel-hook appendaged space monster who battled Godzilla back in the day, the band offer a similarly freakish and monstrous take on progressive death metal, bending and twisting the music into unusual forms.
Led by one-time Hate Eternal second guitarist Eric Hersemann – who plays guitar, bass and synthesizers here, as well as, occasionally, dabbling in decidedly atypical death metal instruments like the theremin – Gigan are ambitious and audacious in extremis. Multi-Dimensional Fractal Sorcery And Super Science, the band's third full-length, opens with the meandering nine-minute “Beneath The Sea of Tranquility” that lays on the psychedelics pretty thick. At half the length, “Influence Through Ritualistic Project” packs in twice the moving parts at twice the speed and throws lots of angular, Voivody riffing into the mix to make things all the more odd.
“Electro-Stimulated Hallucinatory Response” provides just that with the trippy theremin hue that permeates the intro before the band blasts into hyperactive full metal mode only to conclude with what sounds like the crackle of a Tesla coil. Metallic mad scientists only begins to describe these guys. “Mother of Toads” and “Gibbering Hoards of Zemiath” serve up even more weirdness, with free jazz-meets-grindcore freakouts, thundering doomy asides and lyrics about who the fuck knows. The menagerie of animal sounds at the “Zemiath” only adds to the mystery.
Oddly, for all their prog-minded indulgences, Gigan don't seem that interested in showy performances to demonstrate their personal prowess. Hersemann rarely plays any solos and drummer Nate Cotton is too busy trying to negotiate the spasmodic, Escher-esque tempos to offer flashy fills or salvos. Album closer “Bio-Engineered Molecular Abnormalities” goes a bit overboard with the guitar effects, but it's more noise than flash – though no less grating.
There's not a whole lot of recognizable structure here – verse, chorus, verse this most certainly is not – which can make the album as a whole rather hard to grasp. But there isn't a whole lot of extreme metal out there that sounds anywhere near like this, and not many bands can say that.