Tuesday, March 6, 2012

King Giant - Dismal Hollow

 King Giant - Dismal Hollow (2012)

It's good to be the king.

Dismal Hollow, the second album by northern Virginia's King Giant, was met with much fanfare from loyal followers when it was released last month on the band's own Graveyard Hill Records. And rightfully so. The eight tracks of southern-infused mountain metal are bound to be on plenty of top-10 lists this year, including mine.

I'm a native from the hills and hollows of rural Appalachia - and a huge southern-metal fan - so this record has a special place in my heart. Down on Dismal Hollow (yes, there are such places), King Giant take "the dark tales of their Appalachian folk forefathers to contemporary southern doom territory".

What we have here is NOT a failure to communicate. It's an extremely awesome collection.

Each song really does tell a story and there's plenty to be heard. The tales are about about war, whiskey and women; they're about love and loss. And they're about life, which can get as dark as a coal mine sometimes.

If you remember anything from American History class, then I shouldn't have to tell you about the subject of the first story, "Appomattox". Remember that thing called the Civil War? The impressive, dual hammering guitars of Todd Ingram (lead) and David Kowalski (rhythm) are potent and powerful alongside the thunderstruck grooves of Flloyd Walters III (bass) and Brooks & drums. Dave Hammerly (vocals) is a forceful presence as he weaves his tale of young soldiers on the battlefield.

I think the tracks, "A Steward's Prayer" and "6 O'Clock Swill", are a couple of the highlights on Dismal Hollow. The songs brings me back to a time when I first started listening to - and worshiping - Corrosion of Conformity. When I first started loving southern stoner metal. As usual with King Giant, the guitars and all-around sound on these two are especially amazing.

As I'm also a big instrumental fan, one of my favorites is "Road To Eleusis", the second from the last song. The juicy guitars start sorrowful and lonely, literally crying out and moaning, while faint chimes lend to the initial somber feeling. It's emotional - though void of any lyrics - and it definitely touches me. It also features what I believe is one of the most furious guitar solos on the whole album.

Man, this is great. Appalachia is rich with American history and I think King Giant have made more of it with Dismal Hollow. If you don't have it yet, then you're missing out on a titan of a metal record.

Pay some respect to your king. King Giant.



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