Saturday, September 6, 2014

King Giant - Southern Darkness

Few bands are as important to me as Virginia's King Giant. That might seem to be a bold statement since Thin Lizzy, UFO, Rush and Marillion are my absolute favourites. So what is it with these gentlemen of despair that means so much to me that they managed to join this exclusive group of bands? Well apart from flooring me with their amazing music King Giant are the reason why I live in the States! So let me indulge you for a minute.

In September 2006 when MySpace ruled supreme in cyberspace I received a message from the band saying: 'check out our tunes, think you'll dig us'. That's all it said but I was intrigued enough to listen to their songs. It only took a couple of seconds and I was hooked, to say the least. Back then, if you remember, you could pick your top friends on MySpace, so King Giant naturally ended up in my top spot and yours truly claimed a top position on theirs. That lasted for only a week until this dark haired, mysterious, beautiful woman named Kesha knocked me off the top. It didn't take long before we started to chat and as it turned out, we had a lot in common apart from our love for King Giant. As time went on I finally asked for her phone number and called right away. Yes, you're right it's not cheap to call Maryland from Sweden for 2 hours but man, I was smitten! After a few months of calls and chats back and forth with interest in each other growing rapidly every day, I arrived in western Maryland for a 3-week visit in June-July of 2007. And that's all she wrote as the saying goes. To say that we fell hard for each other is the understatement of the century. About 6 months later I was back in the States permanently and Kesha and I have been married almost 7 years now. And this is all thanks to the mighty King Giant!

Throughout their amazing self-released full-length debut King Giant tells tales of misery, pain, violence, drug and alcohol abuse and loss. Blending it all with sludge, doom and a fantastic air of southern darkness (no pun intended), there's an extreme beauty in their songs, despite the bleak and down-and-out situations they portray. Two songs that encapsulate 'Southern Darkness' in it's entirety are 'Mississippi River' and 'Lady Whiskey'. Drinks, drugs, murder, regret and loss wash over me as King Giant are piledriving me with sounds akin to The Allman Brothers on a sludge-ride through the swamplands of Louisiana.

Whether King Giant are going full tilt like they do in '13 To 1', 'Potter's Field', 'Machine Gun Mantra' and 'Desert Run', or drag me down into the cesspool life can be in 'Hollow' and 'Shindig', everything is real. I can smell the filth and I can touch the evil, twisted minds that appear in the songs. I feel the desperation as well as the vile thoughts simmering through this stepping stone descending straight to Hell. Add 'Solace', 'Burning Regrets' and a rousing and well-fitting version of Skynyrd's 'Needle And The Spoon' and you have one of the most complete albums ever!

Don't miss out on these guys, they deserve to be out there more than most bands. Apart from this brilliant release they have an EP, 'Identity' and a second full-length, 'Dismal Hollow' available. Both cement King Giant's greatness even further. Messieurs Hammerly, Walters III, Brooks, Kowalski and Ingram, I bow to thee! You changed my world forever in a way I never thought possible. I am forever indebted to you. Hail the masters!

- Swedebeast

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