Galvano - Two Titans (Devouter Records)

Relentless sludge from a Swedish two-piece...
Release Date: 
5 Nov 2012 - 12:30am

Despite hailing from Gothenburg, this Swedish duo refuse to be pinned to the 'traditional' Gothenburg sound, rather they've gone off in a different direction and come up with a debut album of sludge and doom based delights. I almost choked on my sausage sandwich when I realised that Galvano don't have a bass player (and you know how I love the bass) but with Fredrik on the drums and Mattius on guitar and vocals, I was glad to conclude that it didn't detract from the crushing heaviness of Two Titans.
Abysmal opens this album and you're immediately clubbed over the head with the fat distorted notes of a composition that comes across as almost regal. I see a king riding into a heaving battle as the drums boot in. Hallucinatory visions aside, it's definitely a song that's more sludge than doom but it's sweet to my ear and the sound is huge. Suddenly the vocals drop in, muted and tortured by the pain of duality or some such thing (apparently the entire album is built around the concept of a battle of opposites). A fine start indeed.
Bleeding Lamb again has some excellent drum work - the cymbal work is particularly saucy - and it's another dose of unstoppable riffage which finishes on a bizarre organ outro. Destroyer keeps the pace up with some more of that heavy, thick sound. It's like you're drowning in Galvano's music but luckily the next track Hyperion gives  us some respite, cracking open with some more battle drums and some clean guitar that brings to mind a mexican stand-off. It's menacing without being completely mental and this track allows you to catch your breath before you're thrown back into the finger-biting madness of the Ethereal Sword with lashings more of those muted vocal lines and insane drums.
Maelstrom is the longest track on here, clocking in at just over eight minutes; it switches from the restrained to the violent and back again before slipping into Punisher; another distorted tune that pours forth from the speakers like a land-slide. Finally we finish up with Thrones of Blood that leaves us battered, bruised, bloody and breathless. Blimey! I need a sit-down after that. Fucking relentless.