Monday, January 18, 2016
Howling Giant - Howling Giant EP
The first few years living here in Nashville, I spent moaning and complaining about the lack of great bands to listen to and watch live. Then by chance, I attended a shindig at one of the local dive bars and my attitude to the music scene changed drastically for the better. One of the bands performing was SKLDZR who literally skulldozed me into smithereens. A trio of miscreants that plays excellent stoned out, heavy ass rock with a ton of humour. Could that be something? Hell yeah! After a while they changed their name to Howling Giant and recorded this self-titled EP. Apart from the new moniker, nothing has changed...well, they've gotten even better and this combo is one of those rare entities who are just as great on record as they are on stage. Few bands can make this transition, so it's a mark of talent in abundance.
Where the hell do I start? Guess the foundation with Howling Giant is based around THE RIFF with a touch of stoner. But it doesn't end there, no sir. Amidst all the heaviness, there's a lot of vocal harmonies kind of like how King's X and Valkyrie do it. Guitarist Tom Polzine is the main crooner but both Roger Marks and Zach Wheeler, bass guitar and drums respectively, lend able vocal chords. Check out opener 'Husk' and you get my point. The sweet vocals soar above the relentless music creating an array of magical tones and I'm swept away. Albeit it slower in tempo somewhat, 'Whale Lord' picks up the thread right from the get-go. Slow and punishing in the verses, the annihilating approach in the choruses is devastating. And as I think I'm going to perish, Howling Giant launches into a trippy, spaced out sequence where Tom shreds and solos his fingers to a bloody pulp. All while Roger and Zach are summoning Ragnarök. Brilliant!
Strangest of all the songs, but the best in my opinion is 'Doug'. A huge cauldron of influences, tempos and moods, they go totally bonkers where galloping drums and rhythm guitar-like bass playing rub shoulders with...damn it if I know, insanity in a beautiful way, while the guitar is cutting me down to size. Going down Doom Alley, 'Camel Crusher' has the honour of closing out Howling Giant's debut release. Slow and crushing with a big Sleep vibe, I just close my eyes and let the insanity carry me away, as the guys launch into a fantastic jam that leads into the pulverizing end.
Waveriders, this band means a lot to me, not only for restoring my faith in the local music scene but also for being an amazing combo. The way they incorporate inspirations with great musical and songwriting talents and a huge sense of "I don't give a fuck what you think"- attitude, gives me such satisfaction. Do what thou wilt, right? Indeed! Aspiring bands, and established, take note how to make something of your ideas and intentions. Doesn't get much better than this.