Oh boy, did I have fun reviewing this record from French three-piece Glowsun. Built on song after song of heavy bass and drums, down-tuned guitar riffs and great use of pedals and technique, this is a psychedelic stoner metal adventure that never grows boring, never hits a raw nerve and delivers in spades.
The Lille based band has been around for some years in a couple of different forms but now consists of Johan Jaccob on guitar and vocals, Ronan Chiron on bass and Fabrice Cornille on drums. This is only their second release and from the pics on their facebook page the packaging (also by Jaccob) is brilliant. Although they don’t break new ground with this record, the songwriting, performance and production are all to a high standard.
The vocals are straight and play a lesser role than the instruments, entering occasionally and not always at strength. Repetition is used enough to set up a pulse but it never becomes a drone the likes of Earth. The guitar builds a good solid sound and each song has not just its own hooks and bass lines, but it’s own unique effects and sounds. There’s little in the way of dynamics although the band do play around with pace both between and within songs.
Containing elements of sludge, drone and progressive metal and a definite heavy feel, you could expect this to be a laboursome and intense record, but it’s not. From the first bar I find myself closing my eyes and seconds later I’m drifting on a raft down an eternally-deepening canyon, the metropolis above rising into the clouds as the isolation embraces me.
The powerful river carries me through currents, whirlpools and the occasional rapids, but these fail to knock me out of my trance and I feel safe and warm, the sun continuing to climb down into the chasm. From the city above I hear the buzz saws of industry, the sirens in the streets the cars screeching their tyres, the footpaths full of workers trudging home from work, but they don’t disturb me. I hear them calling me occasionally, or at least I think they’re calling me. I don’t really care if they are.
Even when I find myself off the raft and under the water my gills allow me to breath and my fins help me glide through with ease. I’m in my element, the currents and foaming waters have no effect on me as I watch them from below.
As I continue the swirling of the waters dies down and for a short time the water is so calm and as I look around the canyon walls are gone, but in an instant I’m swept over the edge of a huge waterfall and I tumble down into the trashing waters below. Lifting myself onto a rock the water cascades over and around me yet I am completely unharmed, the tons of water simply massaging me. A large animal of some sort comes to the water’s edge and tries to tell me something. He raises his voice because of the roar of the water and having delivered his message turns and lumbers into the distance.
Diving back under the water now I find it’s so much deeper. The sea creatures are so much bigger as they smile and wave at me. When one does open it’s mouth he sings more gently than whatever it was back there on land. I climb on his back and he roars to the surface, leaping through the air and crashing back into the water, I hold on tight but his gentle voice continues to reassure me as he surfaces once more. In the second I have to look around I find we are out to sea, smashing through the white peaks of mountainous waves. A pod of dolphins joins in the fun, calling to us but the creature has no time and warns them off. He’s going to take me home.
We are back in the clearing, cruising upstream on the surface, tropical birds singing like sirens begging us to stay in their paradise. Their cries are unheeded and before I know it we are powering back up the waterfall, through the rapids and into the slower waters and lower walls of the entrance to the canyon.
I’m back on the raft, but now it’s tethered to the banks of the river, the water gently lapping at the sides. The city has gone to sleep, the stars are all out in the clear skies and I’m lying here in a warm breeze. I have to go back to work tomorrow, but for now everything is serene.
You should join me.