Friday, December 5, 2014

Giant of the Mountain (U.S.): Moon Worship

Giant of the Mountain (U.S.): Moon Worship
Giant of the Mountain comes from Texas and was formed in 2008, and from 2009 until 2014, the band has two EPs and three full-length albums, the third of which is this 2014 title “Moon Worship,” a six-song work that lasts about 38 minutes. Very surprisingly, Metal Archives categorizes Giant of the Mountain as “technical death metal.” That categorization seems so strange in the case of Giant of the Mountain. It’s very likely that the band members will look at each other with eyebrows raised and exclaim, “What? We had no idea we were ‘technical death metal’!” and bust out laughing.
It also appears that Giant of the Mountain has suffered for being from Plano, Texas. All the band’s recordings are independent, according to Metal Archives. Maybe the metal companies are just not ready for an ambitious and brainiac metal band from Texas. I guess that’s what you get for being from Texas and not being a low-IQ macho-posturing thug with a mouth for war, demanding respect and telling people to walk.
Here’s the deal: Giant of the Mountain is one of “those metal bands” that does it all: from abhorrent blasting death metal to mellow, peaceful pieces with melodic singing. At first it sounds like a big bowl of clutter of metal racket, as in “Is this a compilation album? How many bands are on this compilation?” Yet, no, it is all Giant of the Mountain, but if you listen to this work as an album, something else will happen: everything will come into focus and the landscape will be visible as a complete entity. The first song “Moon Worship” is a fast death-ish track, but the guitar work stands out for being prog guitar played fast, backed by fast drumming. The growling seems to have various shades of “brutality” that are something like growling by monsters, by witches and by gremlins, low and high, so on and so forth. The appearance of melodic vocals later on in this same song, at that high speed is both surprising and pleasant. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the band’s guitarist/vocalist Cody Daniels holds in high regard Opeth’s “My Arms, Your Hearse.” Giant of the Mountain’s music is way too aggressive and fast for the classic Opeth influence to be easily detected, but make no mistake, the guitar tone, the riffs and the soloing have a fundamental debt to the classic period of the Swedes. It’s just that Giant of the Mountain has ratcheted up the intensity, speed, “brutality,” and vibe so that this music turns into a different sound. In contrast, “Cult of the Moon” is a mellow song with audible acoustic or acoustic-like sounds, and now that element of classic Opeth jumps out and says, “How do you like them apples, now? Did you know that Giant of the Mountain writes songs this eclectic?”
At any rate, this review is getting too long. As you can imagine, Giant of the Mountain does not have a big budget with which to work, and just the fact that they have lasted this long on their own is a credit to them. If they had more money, I’m sure they would like to give the recording a better quality, as the drumming appears to be drum programming, even though they do have a real human drummer named Randi Matejowsky. In terms of the songs themselves, however, this album is very satisfying. FYI: The band calls its music "blackened progressive sludge metal." These kids today, they think up of all sorts of genres. "Sludge"? Really? Check out the music and argue with your friends about the genre later.
Moon Worship
Cult of the Moon
Giant of the Mountain live @ the Rail 6/17/12

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