Monday, April 16, 2018

EP Review: GAPANG Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi (Mindplight Recordings) by Dave Wolff

GAPANG
Mindplight Recordings (Manila, Philippines)
Place of origin: Philippines
Genre: Doom/sludge metal 
Release date: April 1, 2018
Listening to this EP for the first time, my initial reaction is most American fans of doom, stoner and sludge haven’t heard it played quite like this. Being that Gapang is from the Philippines, they pursue their craft with an increased amount of diligence and passion compared to bands from this side of the ocean. If you thought The Obsessed were heavy you need to listen to Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi as it may well inspire you to rethink your definitions. Even if you’re well versed with the countless subgenres of doom metal, Gapang has the potential to blow many of the bands you know out of the water. Checking this out may even give you a sudden keenness for doom if you weren’t previously a fan. The EP was released by Mindplight Recordings, an indie label headed by Joy Legason who is bassist and vocalist for the band. These songs are louder, harder, raunchier and just plain uglier than the most caustic doom from elsewhere. Their severity responds to “a country’s strife from the mud-brained leaders that leeched the people dry”. By the time the EP ends you’ll feel you’ve been dragged through the most poverty-stricken areas of the band’s hometown and not look at doom exactly the same way. The band makes a convincing argument that doom bands don’t have to refine their style but can go in the opposite direction by infusing additional grime and grit, and your listeners will appreciate your effort. Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi likewise argues you can unite different levels of ambience from different subgenres of doom and make it work. Blues and early grunge are mixed with catchy riffs, gratuitous distortion, agonizingly slow dirge sections, atmosphere, clean and dirty vocals to create what could become an entirely new subgenre if allowed to develop naturally. Each song is a massive earthquake, each note is an emission from a blast furnace, each drum hit is a punch to the head, each vocal line is wholehearted and all-consuming in its veracity. Back in 2002 I saw a Brazilian movie called City Of God and remember it to this day for its brutal realism. This is one EP that would have fit into the movie’s soundtrack without trying. Do yourself a favor and contact this band for information about their work. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Joy Legason: Bass, vocals
Jon Estrada: Guitars
Jay Jumawan: Guitars
JayDee Calinawan: Drums

Track list:
1. Gin Bulag Swing
2. Mudd
3. Neverhide

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