GARGANTUAN'S Aidy Reihill Discusses the Past, Present, and Future!

GARGANTUAN were formed in early 2008. Based in county Fermanagh in Northern Ireland which is renowned for music, but of not of the extreme variety, the band set out to write completely original music, incorporating the various genres which appealed to them including death, black, thrash, brutal and technical death metal. The band set out to establish a style, but found it difficult to conform to a particular format whilst trying to incorporate so many different influences into their music. Unable to confine the brutality to a particular genre, the band ceased trying direct their music and simply went with the flow of the molten metal.

With the help and encouragement of friends and metal heads from Ireland and further afield, GAGRGANTUAN have played gigs in venues all over Ireland. The band owe a great debt of thanks to bands such as Existing Threat and Overoth, who have granted them the opportunity to play with some top international bands such as Godhate, Shadow’s Far and Empatic. The band recorded their first EP “GARGANTUAN” in 2010 with the help of John Moffat of the Oaks Recording Studio in Fermanagh. With an EP under their belt and having had time to perceive upon what they were trying to achieve, the band is now zealously writing and performing new material in a bid to scar their mark upon the masses! Vocalist and bassist Aidy Reihill discuss the band's past, present, and future plans.

1. What type of band are you?

Aidy: Gargantuan are a death metal band. No compromises. We hail from a small, wet town called ennisKILLen, in the wind battered, sticks of Ireland. If Norwegian metal is the personification of frost-bitten grimness, then Irish metal is the embodiment of misery-saturated hatred. Our music is malignant, abrasive, and ridden with contaminating misanthropy.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Aidy: We formed in 2008. All four members of Gargantuan have previously been in other cover-based metal bands, and when we formed we all knew that we wanted to create a new monster which we could call our own, and so we immediately ruled out the notion of standing on shoulders by covering other people’s music.  We wrote our own material and played local gigs around our home town ennisKILLen for about 2 years. During this time we met other bands, friends and contacts, which has seen us playing gigs and festivals all over Ireland in Dublin, Belfast, Mayo, Dundalk to name but a few. Our biggest gigs to date are the Infestation of Ireland tour which we did earlier this year with the brutal death grinders Parricide from Poland, the Monsters of Rot 3 festival in Fermanagh, and we also have the Annihilation of Mortals tour coming up in October with another Polish death metal band, Sphere.

3. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Aidy: As the main lyricist, I personally fucking hate songs where some pretentious prick has scrawled out their inner-most desires, fears and frailties on one of their tear drenched fanny pads, stuck it into a “Recycle-A-Riff 1000” and churned out yet another, ubiquitously vapid, sonic turd! Songs that they write so that people connect with them and understand them.

Our songs have no message. They are written in the abstract, to be interpreted whatever way you want. If you can understand the vocals, or are bothered to read the lyrics, you'll be confronted by all the horrible, fucked up shit that happens to someone, in some form, somewhere, every fucking day. The things that the weak attempt to ignore through the distraction of whatever faltering, flavour of the month, farce they’re currently obsessing over.

4. Who are your musical influences?

Aidy: Gargantuan listen to a lot of stuff from different genres including rock, progressive, noise/ambient, and even some electronic stuff, but metal is definitely our main passion. We all dig many of the same bands like Entombed, Death, The Deviant, The Haunted, Behemoth and Bloodbath, to name a few of more recognizable ones, but then there are some contentious bands that we dig individually, but that the other guys really hate like Ensiferum, Converge, Morbid Angel or Abominable Putridity.

5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the song writing process in detail.)

Aidy: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, we decided to write all of our own material from the very start. Most of the music is written by Rony and Chris, who have very different writing styles. Rony has a penchant for mad time signatures and technicality, whereas Chris has a really heavy, groovy style to his stuff. This is really apparent when they write songs individually. Kathartic Bloodletting from Declarations of Gore for example was written by Chris, and it's a really grooved out death metal stomper, and then you have Foeceation from our first demo, which was written by Rony, and it's a real maelstrom, going from fast and techy, to brutal, to breakdowns, and a really epic outro. We're really lucky to have two different styled musicians in the band, who are really good at plying their styles, but it's when we all work together that we come up with the really mad stuff, like a song we have in the pipeline called Cracks And Fissures. It's going to be really different from anything we've done before, almost verging on progressive. It's still not finished yet, but by the time we're done, it should be a pretty cohesive juxtaposition of all of our styles and influences.

6. Tell me about your album "Declarations of Gore" what does the title mean and is this a concept release?

Aidy: Declarations of Gore is our first shot at properly recording our music. We've laid down some demos and scratch tracks before, but we definitely put a lot more thought, time, effort and money into making Declarations of Gore. There is no specific meaning attached to any of our music, and the same goes for the title of the EP. People can interpret it whatever way they want, but if they manage to extract any deeper meaning as to why we chose that title, other than it sounds cool, then they're doing better than us.

We had enough songs to make an album, but due to time and money constraints, we decided to pick 5 songs and do an EP. Time was a greater issue than money though to be honest, as I wanted to have the EP ready so that its release would coincide with our Infestation of Ireland Tour with Parricide (PL). We succeeded in having it ready for the tour, but I would say that the EP didn't end up sounding as well as it could have, due to being somewhat rushed in order to meet this deadline. The EP was only actually printed and ready for collection, the day before it was released in Dublin.

7. How would you describe the overall sound of this album?

Aidy: In terms of musicianship and most of the elements of the production, the EP sounds great. We had a hell of a lot of fun making Declarations of Gore, and we're really proud of all the songs, and the way they're put together. A weird thing is that people always compare us to American death metal bands like Malevolent Creation and Massacre, but none of us really listen to; or even like any of that stuff; in fact, I actually used to find some of the comparisons to be quite insulting! So everyone else seems to think we sound American, but if we do, that's certainly not what we were aiming for haha! We would say that the EP has a pretty good blend of elements from the genres that we like such as death, black and thrash, but is played in a way that doesn't conform strictly to the rules of any of them.

8. What would you say is your favorite track off it?

Aidy: My personal favorite track is I Rot, but I think each of the guys have a different personal favorite. I Rot was mainly written by Chris and is dripping with his characteristic groovy, chugginess. In my opinion it's got the best tone, energy and atmosphere out of all the tracks on the EP. I think this was also the first song he wrote after we decided to tune up from B to C#.

9. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

Aidy: Yes, from listening to our previous demos, we knew pretty much exactly which elements we wanted to improve upon in order to get the new EP sounding tighter, punchier and more professional. We feel that we achieved this pretty well, although now, drawing comparisons between the old stuff and the new stuff, I'd definitely say that the old stuff was much rawer and more filthy, and that the new stuff is a lot tighter and more polished, but that perhaps it has lost a bit of its grit. It's a constant learning process though, and we've gained a lot of experience from making Declarations of Gore, which further augments the Gargantuan monster and will ensure our next recording is even better again!

10. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Aidy: Instrumentation no, but we definitely put a lot more thought into using, creating and applying samples and effects on this EP as opposed to our previous recordings. This could range from using a reverse cymbal effect with a delay on it for the intro to Necrosis, to me running around jangling chains and pretending to be a monster for the intro track to the EP.

11. When did you start writing for this album? How was the song writing process different/similar to previous GARGANTUAN albums?

Aidy: To be honest we didn't all get together and go "Right boys, let's write a new album!" There's everything on Declarations of Gore from the track Math Murder, which is actually the first song that we ever wrote and played together (although it never made it onto the previous demo), to our freshest stuff like Kathartic Bloodletting. We basically chose the songs that we felt would go together best on a new 5 track EP.

12. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

Aidy: The track Kathartic Bloodletting is one of our newest songs and was written by Chris. He came to practice one time, and he pretty much had the song completed and ready to rock on the day, and as soon as we heard him playing the blistering opening riff we knew that it was gonna be a stomper. No one expected him to drop down into the groovy, headbanging verse riff afterwards, but when we realized that we were all standing there banging our heads like crazy, we knew he was onto a good thing haha! He wanted to call it Kathartic Bloodletting, and I initially struggled to relate to the title in order to write the lyrics for it, but one day I strolled into one of the more sadistic parts of my brain, and when I came back out, I had written one my most depraved, graphic and mental image provoking, odes to depravity yet!

13. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Aidy: You can check the events page on our Facebook profile to keep track of the gigs which we're playing around Ireland and the UK this year. Coming up we've got the Annihilation of Mortals tour in ennisKILLen on 18/10/13, and then Dublin on 20/10/13 with Sphere (PL). The gig for the 19th is due to be confirmed soon. Our stuff is currently being played on a couple of metal radio stations including Radio Heretica (Pol), Onslaught Radio (UK) and Friction In The Static (USA), but the main place to buy or listen to our stuff is via our Facebook, Bandcamp or Reverbnation pages.

14. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Aidy: Apart from playing gigs and festivals in 2013, we'll be continuing to focus our attention on writing new material, spreading our music, and eradicating the worthless.

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