Band: The Gourishankar

CD Title: “Close Grip”

Band Website:

Label: Unicorn Digital

Label Website:

Release Date: 2008


In 2007 Unicorn Digital released a CD from the band The Gourishankar entitled 2nd Hands that featured a complex mix of musical styles all melded together with a wonderful symphonic prog approach. It was the first music most of us had ever heard of the band. Now Unicorn has reissued The Gourishankar’s first independently released CD from 2003 entitled Close Grip. Fans can hear the origins of their unique style in its infancy. This four member outfit originally formed in 2002 and now as well as then consisted of Vlad MJ Whiner (vocals), Doran Usher (keyboards), Nomy Agranson (guitars, backing vocals) and Cat Heady (drums, loops). This recording was released within a year of them being together.


Overall, the music of The Gourishankar is melodic, song-oriented symphonic progressive rock that displays a wider than usual range of influences and inspiration especially on their second recording. But even here at the beginning of the band’s recording career you start to hear that strange mix. The CD starts off with “Gripped by Fear” (2:04) which is a dark, brooding and dramatic instrumental full of atmosphere and mystery, before launching into the very upbeat “Insomnia” (7:28). The band is constantly shifting gears, speeding up, slowing down, and inserting unusual musical motifs that really keep you guessing. The songs themselves, there are eight of them here including one bonus track, feature four over seven-minutes and four under four-minutes. But length hardly seems to matter here, with so much going on it’s easy to lose track of where you are: is this a new song or has the song I’m listening to changed? The Gourishankar seems to relish the concept of mixing up non-traditional musical elements. The tunes are sprinkled throughout with spoken word or sound loops, great synthesizer performances, jazzy interludes, some techno beat, heavy crunchy guitar and more. 


If you enjoyed The Gourishankar’s release 2nd Hands you’ll certainly want to addClose Grip to your collection. The CD is a mere 48-minutes but is packed with some great music and gives us a interesting glimpse into the band’s early approach to music that manifested itself more fully on their second release. This is a very unique band with a very individual sound which is why as before I heartily recommend The Gourishankar to symphonic prog fans everywhere.