Review Summary: Like its namesake, Cenotes is a deep, mysterious entity, displaying a band at the height of their creative abilities.
In my Zoological university studies, the one thing that has stuck with me the most (as well as the thing that has been hammered into my head more than anything) is that in diversifying, the Earth has become a wonderful, fascinating place. Through diversification, the world we inhabit as supported a bounty of life, each a part of a larger whole. Giant Squid, a band who has historically embraced the biological sciences, understands this. They understand that in order to obtain a beautiful, immense product, progress and evolution are an absolute must. Thus, Cenotes
, their third album was born.
is a magnificent evolution of Giant Squid. Retaining the same powerful, massive sound that was on their debut, as well as 2009’s The Ichthyologist
, the band has made a record that fans could easily get behind. But Giant Squid are not the type to retread old ground. Cenotes
does indeed feel
like a Giant Squid album, but it is most certainly different. Where their previous works could be defined as an Isis/Neurosis related brand of post-metal, their latest feels much lighter in tone, picking up more progressive rock influences than ever. It is in this musical growth that we find the band much more comfortable than ever, allowing their creativity to flow freely. It’s certifiably a metal album, with heavy, chugging guitars and dense atmospheres. However, Giant Squid, with their incredibly varied sound, draw a lot of inspiration from a multitude of genres. Alternative rock, post rock, and even a tad of sludge are all represented here. The dual female/male vocals make for an interesting dichotomy, and the cello is used to a tasteful degree. All in all, Cenotes
is a very well written, and expertly produced metal album.
From the opening moments of “Tongue Stones” it becomes clear that Cenotes
is a different kind of beast. A single cello plays over an eerie atmosphere, as Aaron Gregory’s Serj Tankian-esque vocals lightly enter. The song then erupts into a darker segment, with the band’s heavier nature rearing its head. The track is a great opener, displaying just about every facet of the album. Other standouts include "Figura Sepentinata” and “Cenotes.” The latter is the album’s most bold track. It’s crushing and beautiful, with the vocals largely taking a backseat to the superb instrumentation. Although the songs here are solid, what makes Cenotes
such a fantastic improvement is how deliberate it all feels. The Ichthyologist
was a wonderful album, but it often felt too ambitious and too grand for its own good. With ten massive songs, the album lost momentum and felt too full of filler. Cenotes
remedies this, with a tracklist and runtime of about half its predecessor. It’s concise and to the point; an album that doesn’t waste a second of play time.
is an exceptionally crafted album (enough so that I can even forgive the gross usage of non-existent species names in the song titles), and should be seen as the band’s tour de force. More focused than ever, Giant Squid have topped themselves in every sense, giving cause for excitement and anticipation in regards for their bright future.