Giant Squid
The Ichthyologist


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jake Hartman USER (5 Reviews)
October 3rd, 2010 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pushing down the boundaries of progressive metal, Giant Squid avoids the over reliance of technical wanking that other genre favorites tend to favor, and instead op for a more atmospheric style.

While listening to Giant Squid, I can’t help but wonder; what attracts me to their music? Is it the jazz infused metal, that bands like maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot has taught me to embrace? Perhaps it’s Jackie Perez Gratz’s beautiful, soaring voice that comes in at the most opportune times? Or maybe the sludgy sections that make my ears feel like they are wading through . . . well . . . sludge? Regardless of the exact reason, Giant Squid uses all of them to create their own unique take on progressive music. The proverbial melting pot of several genres, The Ichthyologist is a wall of sound that needs time to be climbed.

As mentioned above, there are many jazz influenced moments on this album. Flutes, cellos, oboes, and trumpets make an appearance in almost every song (which really sets them apart from the standard post metal band). The first two minutes of the album shows you what Giant Squid wanted to accomplish on this record; an eerie guitar riff accompanies a brilliant drum pattern and several woodwind/string instruments. The point is using these “different” instruments really brings out a whole different atmospheric level to the music. I know Giant Squid aren’t the only ones to play jazz influenced post metal, but I’d be willing to argue that they play it better than anyone else.

Another thing that really sets The Ichthyologist is the addition of Jackie Perez Gratz in the vocal department. Where the female vocalist on Metridium Fields was good, Gratz is so much of an improvement. Her voice appears effortlessly amidst the disorder and shines through like a siren through a heavy sea storm. Sometimes you can find her harmonizing with main vocalist Aaron Gregory (Sutterville), to produce a truly awe inspiring effect. She also assists in the instrument department with the cello, which is certainly one of the shining points of the album.

The ambient, sludgy sections of the album are by far my favorites. They combine the unusual instruments with mesmerizing vocals and heavy layered guitars to create a sound that the listener has just plain never heard. Blue Linckia is a great example of how Giant Squid has grown as a band since Meridian Fields (despite the departure of two of its members). The song starts off slow and atmospheric and about a minute in, the song twists into a dense layered guitar riff with Aaron Gregory’s odd vocals shouting above all the chaos ensuing behind him. The song lets the listener breathe at about 3 minutes in before diving off into a series of riffs and solos. Although the heavy metal sections of the album are not as bountiful, they are by far better placed and in general better done.

Although, there are reasons I have this album rated a 4. Clocking in at about roughly an hour, The Ichthyologist is truly a “wall of sound.” An inexperienced listener will have a troubling time trying to figure out everything that’s going on during the thick parts, and even the most veteran of post metal listeners will have to spin this several times to get a good feel of what is streaming through their head. I tend to find the slower songs (Sutterville, Mormon Island, and Emerald Bay) to get a bit tedious over repeated listens. There could also be more harsh vocals, seeing how great they sound when they’re used.

Giant Squid has built a wall of music that is just asking to be climbed. Granted the climb will take plenty of effort; this reviewer guarantees you won’t be disappointed when you get to the top. For when you do, you’ll realize that you just listened to the epitome of progressive music. An excellent album by a band with huge potential, The Ichthyologist does things differently than its competitors without even once coming off as pretentious or as if it’s “trying too hard.”

Recommended Tracks:
Panthalassa
Throwing A Donner Party At Sea
Blue Linckia



user ratings (210)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
KYZAR (4.5)
Beautiful, brutal, ambient... Giant Squid deliver a great post-metal album despite the numerous obst...


Comments:Add a Comment 
puma35
October 3rd 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Second review, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Critique me please, anyway, album is seriously great

taroo
October 3rd 2010


2126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review... didn't mention anything about Anneke van Giersbergen singing in Sevengil., but that's alright.

ThePalestMexican
October 3rd 2010


2816 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Forking love this album!

Powerban
October 3rd 2010


2380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love how chaotic these guys can be. Nice review. I would stay away from bolding stuff and italicize it instead, but that's just personal preference.

puma35
October 3rd 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the responses guys, if you like this, I really think you'd enjoy the bands in the recommended section

sexpoi
October 4th 2010


599 Comments


sounds pretty cool. great review

HenchmanOfSanta
October 4th 2010


1927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed pretty much word for word, although you didn't say anything about Throwing a Donner Party at Sea or Sevengill, which are two of the best songs of 2009 (especially the climax of Sevengill, holy shit).

puma35
October 4th 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Henchman, and yea that song's climax is the tits

AdenZerda
October 4th 2010


118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreeing with the above - Sevengill is one of my favorite songs of last year.

If you have a chance and the equipment, pick up the vinyl version from Vega Vinyl. It looks amazing, sounds amazing, and they remastered some of the parts of some tracks. Sevengill is like a new experience.

brutebeard
October 4th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Squid is amazing at first, but they grow way off. At least for me

TRMshadow
October 4th 2010


4982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is excellent and the review ain't bad either, pos.

The only thing I don't understand is why everyone dislikes Metridium Fields so much. I listened to it a while ago and remember enjoying fairly well, a solid 4, not as good as this I might say, but it ain't bad.

brutebeard
October 4th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Metridium Fields is quite a drag

puma35
October 4th 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just gave Metridium Fields another listen and it really isn't as good as this

Baphomet
October 11th 2010


7364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I gave up 5 minutes of my time for this?!

Have your pos, whore.

Srsly though, great review for a great album... but the rating's wrong.

puma35
October 11th 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha thanks baph, it really would be higher if the slow songs didn't kill me

Baphomet
October 11th 2010


7364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know what you mean, but the mood killing songs are only a couple. I love How the album builds up towards Throwing a Donner Party at Sea and then progressively goes all chill again.

God dammit, I need to listen to Donner Party now.

Baphomet
October 11th 2010


7364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Far too many adrift at sea
You are our chosen source of meat
With the brine up to our knees
All I can think is how you'll be the first to be eaten


This song is one of my all time favorites, it always makes me wanna go berserk for no reason.

puma35
October 11th 2010


972 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

atta way Lakes

octothegreat
May 7th 2011


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

never liked this as much as metridium fields but it is growing on me a lot lately, will probably
increase rating a bunch

FenixZero
August 26th 2011


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SO GOOD. omg such a great infusion of instruments.



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