Sunday, February 22, 2009

Metal Jerks review of GIANT SQUID

Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist
Doom Metal / post metal / Sludge Metal / USA

Giant Squid’s second album is similar in style to the first, with layers of keyboards and cellos supplementing the more traditional metal instruments, although they’re just that, supplements, rarely taking over completely. The album just oozes with atmosphere, both in the metallic sections and quieter passages, and the unusual instrumentation is a big factor. Both male and female vocals are utilized, and I greatly preferred the latter; there’s something about the male singer’s voice I find a bit irritating. When he sings high, his voice has an annoying nasally quality to it, and when he tries to sound gravelly, the result is just cheesy. This doesn’t come close to ruining the album, however. Most of the songs have subtitles which are the scientific names of sea life; I’m not sure what that fact is supposed to mean.

My favorite track on the album was one which stuck out as being atypical- “Throwing a Donner Party at Sea” isn’t a stereotypically slow doom metal song, as it clips along at a nice pace. I also liked the song’s use of harsh backing vocals, which is fairly unusual for this band. Another standout track was “Mormon Island;” I enjoyed its near-ambient use of the piano. If there’s one thing I didn’t like about this album, it’s that it lacks an extra-long track like the title track on Metridium Fields; I loved that song and its extremely repetitive but undeniably hypnotic groove. All in all, though, it’s a worthy second effort, and it’s well worth checking out.

posted by Pugs Malone at 6:48 pm

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