Every now and then you come across an album that's so unique, so startlingly fresh, that you literally need to listen to it many, many times before you can even realize your impression on the music and form words to descibe it. Recently I've had the pleasure to come across two such releases, the latest from the Montreal band Unexpect, and Metridium Fields from Austin, Texas' Giant Squid. Ironically, both of these bands come to us via The End Records, who are working very hard to bring some of the most cutting edge sounds to the progressive and metal community. Giant Squid are certainly tough to categorize-on one hand they throw a heaping amount of doom/stoner type sounds at the listener that would make any fan of Black Sabbath, Neusrosis, Pelican, and ISIS happy. However, you can also expect plenty of prog-rock elements, such as vintage sounding keyboard parts, as well as three distinct vocalists, plus a small smattering of jazz. Sound confusing? Well, the music is anything but.
Think Radiohead meets Neurosis meets Jefferson Airplane meets Pink Floyd meets Black Sabbath meets Renaissance. Sort of. Giant Squid goes from crushing stoner grooves to 70's inspired prog rock to psychedelic spaciness with the quickest of ease. Mammoth riffs collide with complex arrangements on the bombastic "Neonate", while "Versus the Siren" is an atmospheric, almost jazzy number that also has it's moments of bomast, complete with some great female vocals. "Ampullae of Lorenzini" is one of the hottest tracks on the CD, featuring plenty of metal thunder but surprisingly an assortment of 70's styled prog tricks, thanks to some inspired guitar and keyboard textures. However, the real treat is the 21-minute title track, a slow and ponderous piece that answers the question "What if Pink Floyd had decided to do an epic doom rock song?". With crushing guitar riffs, spacey lead harmonies, an array of keyboards, ethereal female vocals, and a mix of clean and tortured male vocals, this one's a dreamy yet heavy epic of huge proportions. It's a truly haunting piece, but oh so powerful. Another highlight on this one is the neat 60's sounding organ solo at about the halfway point, followed by a soul searching sax solo. Just breathtaking.
Giant Squid's Metridium Fields is a monster release, plain and simple. Gauranteed to appeal to both metal heads and proggers, this is one of the more refreshing releases to come along in a long time. Expect big things from this mighty creature.
- Megaptera in the Delta
- Versus the Siren
- Ampullae of Lorenzini
- Eating Machine
- Revolution in the Water
- Metridium Field