Review Summary: An enormous release met with a whisper.
Marketing matters. GIANT apparently disagreed, dropping one of post-metal's finest pieces of work without so much as attempting to clue listeners in on its existence. As such, this incarnation of the band (later continuing as Braveyoung
) came and went without building any remote following to speak of and a true standout was lost to the dark corners of the internet, buried like a chest of gems under the great sea. But what can one expect after happening upon their flagship album?
Fortunately, the effort expended in uncovering this five song, 50-odd minute behemoth proves endlessly rewarding. Kicking things off with "Stories", GIANT demonstrate an organic, raw, emotive sound reminiscent of the towering achievements from post-metal legends Isis
or the similarly fantastic Rosetta
. The tones are thick, crunchy, and sludgy, lending an impressive sense of scale and openness to the affair. The riffs are simplistic yet consistently engaging, perhaps best evidenced by the positively thunderous and crushing guitar section that roars in a third the way through the remarkable "Calvin." Vocals are predominantly sparse, possibly even more so than the genre's already instrumentally driven standard would suggest, but competently performed, visceral, and earnest wherever they do surface. That said, if you have any interest in learning the lyrical content a reference booklet is necessary, as they remain nearly indecipherable.
Pacing could well make or break the deal for many listeners, as each of the songs' long run times allow GIANT to be extraordinarily deliberate in painting their soundscapes. Those with shorter attention spans who demand immediate gratification and high velocity should consequently avoid this one, or at the least check their expectations at the door accordingly. Nevertheless, the slow and methodological approach provides an immense canvas on which these adept musicians can fully express and develop their talents, with a resultant lush, layered, and immersive experience that offers plentiful variety and diverse moods, often within the scope of a single track.
Despite being well too heavy for the general population, at its core this is a record that favors prettier and more contemplative passages over nonstop aggression, with a decided preference for beauty over brawn. The instruments shoulder the weight of these moments, and they deliver in spades, generating a sense of solace that truly uplifts and shelters. Too frequently bands find themselves detached and isolated from their audience, but these bits captivate and ensure a connectedness that elevates the whole above that of most its contemporaries.
Dig in, discovery has rarely been this indulging.