Music: Giant Squid: The Ichthyologist
Progressive/post rock band Giant Squid impressed quite a few listeners when they released their 2004 debut Metridium Field back in 2004 (which would go on to get expanded distribution from The End Records in 2006). Since that time, the group has put out an EP, released a split with fellow progressive rockers Grayceon, and continued to work on their sophomore effort The Ichthyologist. The resulting album has been self released and is limited to 1,000 physical copies, but should also be available as a digital release. And hopefully it does become available digitally (or the band is able to make enough money to afford another pressing), as The Ichthyologist is definitely worth a listen for fans of the genre.
Those who haven’t heard Giant Squid yet but have heard Grayceon will definitely find the two bands to sound somewhat similar, but where Giant Squid differs is in its tempos and song lengths. Whereas Grayceon has been working with lengthy track times and a combination of fast and slow tempos in recent years, on The Ichthyologist Giant Squid’s instrumentalists work with mid-range track times and focuses more on slower tempos. There are some heavier moments throughout the course of the album, but for much of it the band seems completely focused on offering entrancing melodies that absorb the listener in their high levels of atmosphere. This does admittedly make the group a bit of an acquired taste, as those looking for flashy, constantly changing progressive rock may not be able to get into the slower grooves that this band has to offer.
As with some of the other groups of this type, Giant Squid offers plenty of extended instrumental jams and doesn’t always have vocals as a prominent element. However, when the band does let their two vocalists take the spotlight they do an excellent job. The two often move between lighter, more restrained singing styles and much louder, powerful singing. It is clear on The Ichthyologist that the singers intended to match the intensity offered by the instrumentals when writing their parts, and because of this they really stand out. Because of this, unlike with some of the other progressive rock bands out there, listeners will be anticipating when the vocals will begin on a song rather than wishing that they weren’t there at all.
Giant Squid has crafted a worthy sophomore album that is sure to hook both new listeners and established fans. As I previously mentioned, those looking for flashy, always changing progressive rock will want to look elsewhere but if you are able to appreciate slower paced, absorbing progressive rock then you will definitely want to check out The Ichthyologist. Hopefully the band is able to get this album out there despite their limited budget, as it deserves the attention.
March 23, 2009
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