Nov 032023

(Here is DGR‘s review of the debut album by the Japanese band Galundo Tenvulance, which was released in August by the Spiritual Beast label.)

In spite of the constant theme of the world being in ever increasingly garbage shape, the year 2021 did give me a gift in the form of Japan’s mouthful of a name melodeath group Galundo Tenvulance.

I’ve never looked up the meaning behind the name nor do I have any interest in doing so — I couldn’t bear to have the magic broken for me. I gain an inordinate amount of joy out of seeing that name placed in large font across our website – no doubt to more than the few raised eyebrows that I could imagine.

Prior to this year the young group had only had two EPs and a single to their name, with the EPs perfectly placed to be written about right around the time there was just enough of a lull in metal releases that I could really dive in and analyze the band as they grew into their own and tried new things.

Galundo Tenvulance‘s year-over-year churn has resulted in us covering both their 2021 EP Tenvulance and their 2022 EP The Disruptor Descends. In the time since, the keyboard-wielding younglings have had their lineup shifted about, a new face joining complete with new voice on the vocal front. All in time for the release of a 2023 full-length via Spiritual Beast entitled Lunar Eclipture.

You would think that. like many bands, the Galundo Tenvulance team would just perform the common act of smashing their two previous EPs together, maybe throwing one new song on, and calling that a full-length. It’s understandable. Songwriting is difficult and generating a lot of material without it falling into faceless anonymity is an even harder act. However, Lunar Eclipture is a big release for the band because they haven’t done that. Instead, Lunar Eclipture is eleven songs and forty minutes of keyboard- and synth-happy melodeath with a lot of metalcore-inflected influence on top of it.

Melodeath of the brand that Galundo Tenvulance creates seems to move in cycles, and over the past ten or so years there’s been a large movement back towards a lot of the keyboard-laden stuff of the early aughts: high tempos, massive synth swells, and neo-classical guitars alongside it. Earlier works of groups like Children Of Bodom come to mind, but by that same token, if you wanted something more regional, you can hear a lot of the crashing keyboard works of a band like Blood Stain Child in their Mystic Your Heart-era.

The big difference, twenty years removed from such releases, is that there’ve been multiple cycles and meldings of melodeath, metalcore, and deathcore into one unholy symphonic beast that has moved entirely around by the inertia created from its sheer musical bombast. As the hybridization has gotten larger and larger, so too do the lines get blurred as younger and younger bands become inspired and influenced by second and third generations of bands. The influenced by the influenced by the influenced by of the world.

You start to lose track and eventually a genre will just coalesce into its own sort of thing, near impossible as it is to describe to those of us nerds who like to file away everything like they were stats for some oddly twisted fantasy musican league. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants at some point, so even when you can see the gears of the machine turning, there is a little bit of an element of just seeing what a band can do with already well-known ingredients.

This is a lot of words to say that Galundo Tenvulance spend a large part of their time on Lunar Eclipture going very, very fast.

Galundo Tenvulance hide nothing from their listeners within the first few songs of Lunar Eclipture. All of their chosen building blocks are laid on the ground for everyone to see by the end of the album’s second song “Crescharis”. This is one of those releases that is so single-minded on its objective that you’ll have a good impression of the ride you’re in for by that point, and whether the next nine songs will hold on to you is decided by then.

The first two songs alone have a wall of spinning guitar solos and keyboards to emphasize almost every movement within the song – you’ll recognize the big, sweeping string section sound immediately – and whip through a variety of melodeath staples at breakneck pace. On top of that, given the blurring of the lines between genres, you even get the occasional two-step riff and vocalized ‘bree’ just to add to an already high corpse pile of musical tropes.

“Red Raven” starts things off by launching the band with the force of a shuttle on takeoff and they maintain that pace for a large amount of the album. You could even argue that the first seven songs within Lunar Eclipture are cast from the same mold, just different paint jobs applied over the top of it. One more chaotic, one a little more breakdown-heavy, one having a paint-peeling guitar solo, one more ominous, but all at about the same rapid pacing that makes it seem like Galundo Tenvulance really like the idea of leaving burning scorch marks on the ground behind their musical vehicle.

In fact, the big thing people may not about “Reminiscence Of Vanity” at song seven here is that it’s the one where Galundo Tenvulance finally take a breather and slow down… to a slightly fast mid-tempo.

Of course it may seem like the last four songs of the Lunar Eclipture adventure will see Galundo Tenvulance stretching a bit since three of the four actually clear the four-minute mark – most of the songs on here are shockingly slim and precise, near three-fifteen to three-thirty every time. They actually do stretch, mostly in favor of veering a little darker and more death metal than you’d expect.

The change in formulation still happens around the edges, as the main core of the band’s sound is – as mentioned above – spelled out early on with this album. Yet, “Stake My Life” still has a fun series of guitar melodies woven throughout it and there are plenty of opportunities within the song for the drummer to both blast and double-bass their way to equal ends of the Earth.

While it is amusing to see a song just titled “Jugulate” in the mix, the closer of “There I Am” as it fades into the foreboding instrumental outro of “Mystified Reiteration” are the highlights of the closing part of this album. “Therefore I Am” recalls the earlier segments of the album amplified across four minutes, but it segues well into the atmospheric choir and piano that closes the whole event out. A lot of ideas are at play in those closing few songs, and while they don’t provide a great hint of what the Tenvulance team may do next, there are certainly a lot of seeds from which new plants could sprout there.

Every time we’ve covered Galundo Tenvulance here it has always closed with the sort of sentiment that we’re curious to see where the band will head in the future. The group’s worshipping at the altars of influences is nakedly spelled out this time and you can see the throughline of the band as it tears its way into melodeath and core-kid history.

They cram together so many differing ideas from various ends that they seem to converge upon points within particular songs like beams of light being aimed into a mirror. Yet, each point where those influences coalesce seems to become a song on Lunar Eclipture, and for the most part the breakneck pace at which the band move seems to work for them. The album blurs together at times and it is easy to get lost, yet like many albums of that type, when the songs are broken out seperately you’ll find different layers within each track to enjoy.

This is one of those releases you could easily see Galundo Tenvulance refining upon, trimming some of the edges out or honing in what they found worked for them and individualizing songs even more than sweeping keyboard lines and differing melodies throughout. The two strong EPs and now an equally good full-length already show that they’re a band on the way to figuring out exactly what makes Galundo Tenvulance into a machine all its own, and much like previous releases, we will remain curious to see where the band intend to leave their mark next.

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