The (true) beards of my rocking countrymates are maybe shorter than in one of the official photos of Gandhi’s Gunn back in 2011 when the debut album Thirtyeah (reviewed by Sarp Esin HERE) was released.
However music and sound power in Gandhi’s Gunn are “bearded inside”, invariably like all the fans and people (yes, women too!!) into the underground heavy music rooted into and inspired by the hard rock scene of the roaring 70’s, stoner/desert rock, doom, sludge etc. .. In this respect Gandhi’s Gunn’s new album has a cheeky and promising title: “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound”. And these four rockers from Genova, Italy, are known for keeping promises … With this new album Gandhi’s Gunn showed, to those who had not yet realized it, that they are one of best heavy bands in the Italian underground scene for their infectious and muscular metallic rock style.
In the new album the band recharges the batteries of their adrenaline- (and beer-)fueled hybrid style mixing stoner metal, sweaty retro/southern hard/blues rock, and hints of powerful grunge in the vein of Soundgarden. To this matrix Gandhi’s Gunn add touches of doom and hints of post-metal/post-rock. The latter are actually employed by the band instead of classic psychedelia for occasionally evoking dilated, tormented or sinister atmospheres within their groove-laden metallic rock base. Album “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound” is therefore heavily rocking and in full continuity with their previous release, except for the fact that in the meantime the band has been futher growning and improving their style also thanks to much live activity. Heavily bearded Massimo Perasso, aka Maso, provides powerful attacks by means of his pulsating bass, whereas guitarist Francesco Raimondi is able to knit some great distorted riffs possessing a metallic razor-blade intensity and a swampy density at the same time. Drummer Andrea Tabbì De Bernardi counterattacks the riff charges with his intensive beats. There’s another warrior, vocalist Giacomo Boeddu, definitely one of the most powerful gritty, deep heavy rock voices here in Italy. So we have 8 tracks for almost 33 minutes.
The opening track Haywire is lead by some crushing stoner metal even if some dissonant parts of post-metal affinity are introduced as to distract from the groovy aggression in the DNA of Gandhi’s Gunn. But some genuine southern groove comes back soon in the second track, the bearded and steaming hot Under Siege, as well as in the third track, Breaking Balance. The latter makes you just dream of a fast ride on an old chevrolet corvette along a straight dusty road in the desert (well, typical dream for all Italian rock addicts. And not only Italian, eh eh …). Beside the heavy distorted and reverbered riffs and the blues-drenched metal inspired by Fu Manchu and Clutch, the new album also includes some performances in soft, clean singing by Giacomo Boeddu. This moderate variation in singing style is therefore becoming another characteristic feature in the band after the appreciation of tracks Lee Van Cleef and Club Silencio in the debut album. When employed, the clean soft chanting is paired with charming, almost acoustic, neo-folk to western/desert backgrounds. All this contributes to create an attractive variety to the Gandhi’s Gunn riff machine. So in the beautiful ballad Flood the long and sober acoustic intro eventually results into an amplification of the shock-wave created by the attack from the thundering guitars and from Giacomo’s roars. Flood duly ends in a dark, almost threatening and hypnotic doom-drone cacophony which is in full contrast with what comes after, i.e., the dynamic track Red (the Colour of God). Red is frantic in its development, as the charge of tight riffs is supported by fast and syncopated drumming halfway between funk and d-beat. However the guitar sounds are distorted, deformed and reverbered, and sound almost psychedelic. More waves of hot, contaminated groove will knock you down with the powerful Clutch-inspired Rest of the Sun, as well as in the following track Adrift. In Adrift, however, a balanced dose of post-metal dissonance comes back like in the opening track Haywire.
Speaking about contamination in Gandhi’s Gunn, one cannot be insensitive to the long and seductive ethno jamming opening the final suite Hypothesis and lead by bass, reverbered guitar and sitar. Hypothesis is probably the first ever track where the band employs space metal. However the long exotic sitar-based intro is separated from the space metal core of the suite by an almost brutal surge of very tight doom riffs. Here Giacomo’s powerful chanting becomes almost hieratic. The progressive grafting of experimental and post-metal dissonance on this brutal doom riff matrix eventually creates a sonic vortex of dark space metal lead by complex patterns that I think I heard in weird bands like Oranssi Pazuzu. And everything gets lost in space …
Well, Gandhi’s Gunn do have beards.
In the new album the quartet has been defining and polishing their personal dynamic as well as granite-heavy style already outlined in the debut album. The heart of Gandhi’s Gunn musicians surely beats for many big bands of the heavy stoner/doom scene like Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Fu Manchu, High On Fire, Melvins, Down, Orange Goblin, Monster Magnet, etc..
At this point of their musical career especially, the infectious, groove-laden and crushing style in Gandhi’s Gunn is for me comparable to and possesses the same impact as in bands like Red Fang.
There’s undoubtely much of the first album in the new bearded one. However my impression is that in the new release the band has been “daring” more and has been exploring some different, and maybe darker, sonic territories to a greater extent than before, and with stunning results.
This suggests that this valuable band might have more cool surprises in the future for us.
Gandhi’s Gunn’s album “The Longer The Beard, The Harder The Sound” is available on CD, LP, limited LP and tape since late April 2012 via Taxi Driver Records.
Review by Marilena Moroni
Gandhis Gunn | Big Cartel
Gandhi’s Gunn - Under Siege