Gazpacho - Demon | Album Review | By Volume

Have you ever thought how young we’d be if we never ever went to school? A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)



Entrancing, but doesn’t go much of anywhere.

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Author: on April 16, 2014

Demon is a fitting title for this new record from Gazpacho. Right from the onset there’s this ethereal essense, a gravity the music possesses, but it’s distinctly antiquated. I feel like I’m stuck in some fantasy RPG listening to this record, and I’m talking the nerdiest of shit. Gleaming steel, spells casted, epic landscapes and scenery, unknown dangers and enough monster creeps to fill a Lord of the Rings battle sequence. Demon isn’t the best slice of fantasy you’re going to find, though; at times bleeds together, and the post-rock by way of Romani music isn’t always uplifting – but it will grab hold tight and not let you go. At four tracks, clocking in at just over forty-five minutes, that’s actually pretty impressive. It feels at times like there’s not much to Demon, but seconds later you’re being encumbered by simply too much. It’s as though you’re being ripped through time and space, following some dimensional traveller hand in hand as they pull you between realities. Sadly though, there’s never any anchor, just this constant motion. And while that’s actually the aspect of Gazpacho’s music that will keep you coming back, it is also what may cause Demon to be a little tiresome after repeated listens.

Demon is based on a manuscript unearthed by keyboardist Thomas Andersen’s father, in a recently rebuilt apartment he was visiting in Prague during the 1970s. Those pages contained ramblings and scrawled drawings which formed a diary of the home’s previous occupant, before it burned down. He claimed to have discovered an evil presence in the world – The Demon, as he coined it – and regardless of what exactly it was, it was utterly merciless.  In reading the man’s words, Andersen’s father sensed the author felt he had lived for thousands of years, stalking this Demon. Curiously enough, this manuscript contained references to archaic branches of mathematics, pagan religions unknown to the present world and an eyewitness account of the bubonic plague – so they say. Describing all that back story  plays into the fantasy of Demon though, and the transportive nature of Gazpacho’s music. Even if you didn’t know this whole hoopla before hearing Demon, it will still feel fitting to this macabre record.

Demon isn’t posturing, though. I’m quite new to Gazpacho, but this attention to detail when it comes to the thematic aesthetics of their records seems like one of their things. They’re quite good at it too actually; after almost twenty spins in the past ten-or-so days, I still can’t break down these songs and their concepts, beyond feeling that points and instances feel like this and that. This and that being various moments from R.A. Salvatore novels, or teenage D&D campaigns, you know: those personal moments only I’ll understand. There’s four tracks on this record but they feel like nine or ten different songs, really. Or at least there are distinct enough movements within songs like (the nearly ten minute) “I’ve Been Walking”, or “I’ve Been Walking part 2” (twelve minutes) or “Death Room” (eighteen minutes) that separate themselves from each other but not exactly from all other proggy post-rock.

The important part, though? It’s a delightfully nostalgic and unabashedly dramatic record. Demon reminds me of things I cannot describe not because I lack the words, but if someone isn’t there to hear the record, these words will have no meaning. It cuts to your core deep and sinks in a hook. Even though I stand by macabre as applicable description for the album, it’s not a drab affair and doesn’t drag you down at all. My problem with Demon is that once it reaches the sweet spot, which it will, it has no idea what the hell to do when there. There’s a whole lot of good, cut-to-the-core moments that Gazpacho create on Demon, thing is, once they reach your heart, they don’t plant any seeds.

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