Stangala is the French addition to the ever so popular doom scene. Technically speaking Stangala merely nods toward that direction and uses doom as the backbone of its musical vision. The question is, does Stangala really stand out in this endless flow of doom outfits re-playing riffs written in the Bible of Doom by giants like Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard and St. Vitus?
The record is packed with spine crushing riffs and sludgy bass lines. The reverberated vocal line transforms the singer’s voice into yet another instrument, a refreshing solution that gives more room for the music by diverting the listener’s attention from interpretation to free flow. The band spices up its mix with exotic instruments from Celtic folk tradition and even throws in some grandiose synths.
The record starts off with the listener friendly and extremely catchy “Doom Rock Glazik”. The song also sets the listener into the right kind of doomy mood. Pipes send the song into an awesome solo part towards the end of the song. “Al Lidou Esoterik An Dolmen Hud” is one of those songs you wish would never end. The chorus is surprisingly fresh sounding and every element the band uses locks into place in this particular epic. The middle part gives the listener a short breather before the riff mayhem in the second part of the song. Pure brilliance.
Stangala have indeed a taste for drama with mellow preludes like “Kalon An Noz” and “Deus Bars An Tan”, the latter slowly growing into an eerie drone piece. “Langoliers” and “Bigoudened An Diaoul” portrays the more playful side of the band with surf guitars and upbeat notes. The genre madness continues in “Boued Tousek Hag Traou Mat All” (jazz) and “Sorcerezed” (punk). The end of the record steers back into more conventional doom grounds.
Stangala is definitely a force to be reckoned with. The tight playing and uncompromising take on doom definitely works for the bands benefit. The mix of different styles might be too much for old school enthusiasts, but a new generation might be more receptive to Stangala’s vision. The album would be a masterpiece with small modifications here and there, mostly in length. Locking into a groove is by all means the way to do it right, but a certain progressive approach is still needed to keep it interesting. By cutting away some loose ends and brightening up the mix we would have a real masterpiece on our hands. This will do for now.