As far as music is concerned, 2022 has certainly served us well thus far. The densely packed layers of noise often associated with the post-metal/rock territories have been particularly well-represented, with excellent releases from Rolo Tomassi, SOM, and Kardashev to name but a few. Instrumental three-piece Girih now seek to add their name to the ever-expanding list of standout records dropping this year, with their impending sophomore effort Ikigai set to release in mid-October on Dunk!Records. And I must say, their chances are looking very good indeed.
Having already unveiled mammoth number “The Ring” on our unsuspecting ears a mere week ago, today Everything Is Noise has the immense pleasure of bringing you “The Key” – another monstrous morsel from Ikigai. The album title derives from Japanese conceptual philosophy that revolves around pursuit of two things: fulfilment and purpose. Based on their 2018 debut and “The Ring”, we’re assured of the former thanks to their mighty distorted soundscapes. Meanwhile, the sense of the latter can only truly be felt through the music itself, so enough talking – crank that volume!
Sporting an ominous intro, “The Key” slowly winds itself into existence with ringing clean guitars and rhythmic rim clicks. You feel yourself being drawn (or dragged?) slowly towards something, but there’s a lingering uncertainty that nestles itself deep within as the drums grow more energetic alongside sinister bass. Only then, at the peak of curiosity, is the true power of “The Key” unlocked: a towering wall of distortion surges over startling feedback to plunder your senses in full force.
As the song powers on, brief staccato riffs and snare assaults erupt sporadically like gunfire, puncturing the pace of this otherwise lumbering metallic giant. However, for all the noise and chaos, an enormous part of Girih‘s appeal lies in an ability to root such heaving compositions in melodies that retain a potent sense of humanity. Girih conjure impressively dense, thriving soundscapes for a trio, but the intricacies and tuneful passages that partner this carnage prevent “The Key” (and the rest of Ikigai, I’m sure) from ever spiralling beyond control – rather existing at the brink – even as the track reaches an explosive crescendo. This was a conscious pursuit on their part:
‘Our live looping has been an essential part of managing two guitars into an interlacing layering set of melodies. This song is more composition than just straight riffs, where both guitars are locking loops in step and layering to create an almost classical movement… We were lucky enough to use their [Wachusetts Recording Co.] vintage Roland Tape Chorus Echo for one of the sections of the song, it provided an intense swirling feeling for that part.‘
After that pummelling, you’ll be pleased to know that Girih unleash Ikigai on October 14. The album can be pre-ordered from Bandcamp and pre-saved here. While you’re at it, check out Girih‘s Facebook and Instagram pages for future updates; at this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me if another cacophonous track drops before Ikigai arrives to fulfil its purpose of portraying humanity laid bare through powerful post-metal.
Artist photo: Mariah LaVache