Friday, February 27, 2009

Giant Squid review on DEAF SPARROW

The Ichtyologist

It was a very nice surprise to hear Giant Squid’s Metridium Fields’ about three years ago. It was a rather refreshing listen that seemed to stand on its impervious own at a time when post rock was just a little monster and metal was errr…metal. Back then Giant Squid weren’t reinventing the wheel, but whatever it is that they did with their aquatic open notes and extended songs, they ended up with a pretty nifty album. This time around, now without the help of The End Records, they are proving that the lucidity of Metridium Fields was not a lucky strike. In fact, The Ichtyologist improves over the previous recordings. It is both more beautiful and more difficult, which is to say that it is heavier and yet also gentler.

The heaviness of The Ichtyologist is nothing more than an extension of the dynamics worked on during Metridium Fields; big open riffs work entrancing melodies that at times seem influenced by middle eastern folk. Hypnotizing stuff. Repeated incessantly in the span of seven minutes is enough to idiotize, in the good sense of the word. The first two songs show just that, “Panthalassa” and “La Brea Tar Pits” are strange song titles but are stranger post apocalyptic doom/stoner. Don’t even get me started with that post-rock shit. Massive tunes indeed. The pretty starts right about then, “Sutterville” is theatric and whimsical. And elegant piece that could fit right there adorning the imagination of Tim Burton. I am assuming here is where Lorraine Rath and Kris Force from Amber Asylum assist the band.

“Dead Man Slough” is a great song. A bit melancholic it balances expertly the picking and strumming of strings. When Giant Squid get heavy vocalist Aaron Gregory recalls SOAD’s Serj Tankian sans the epileptic seizures. That’s a good thing by the way. The music of Giant Squid and SOAD are polar opposites and there isn’t a stylistic thread in common. The Gathering’s Anneke Van Gierbesbergen does a cameo in “Sevengill”, another slow number with a miserable cello touch and her angelic touch. Need I go song by song to tell you how satisfying it is? Nah. The Ichtyologist is an album that shall speak for itself. I’ve been waiting for it for months and it was worth the wait. If you enjoyed Metridium Fields chances are you too have been waiting for it. Too bad it is only getting a digital release.

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