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Giant Squid: Cenotes

I'll be the first to admit that sludge does nothing for me with even the leading lights of that particular genre leaving me completely befuddled as to what anyone could possibly get out of painfully slow ideas that meander for decades without ever approaching anything close to fruition. However in the case of Giant Squid and their album (well OK EP if I'm honest) Cenotes, suddenly it all makes perfect sense. Yes this is a band whose guitar strings are so slack that they scrape the ground and if a riff is worth playing, it's worth over-playing. But the difference here is that Giant Squid know exactly where their music is heading and have the ability through stunning arrangements and eclectic instrumentation to make it mesmerising and uncompromising without the bluntness or brutality being lost for one single second.

The addition of an electric cellist in the band's line-up certainly makes for an unusual bedfellow for warped guitar rumblings, but don't be fooled as while the cello does offer a stronger hint at melody and tunefulness than most sludge would even consider, the melancholic sense of loss and despair it brings adds more body to the already dank atmosphere. Add to that a surprisingly sprightly beat on "Snakehead" which also jostles with suitably quirky yet bright vocals and you have a track that fits perfectly on this release while being completely out of place! If however doom and gloom are the order of your day then delight in the decay of "Figura Serpentinata", which clouds you in dark, deep dense shrouds of claustrophobia.

Cenotes in a release capable of stepping across genre boundaries and while its heart is undoubtedly in uncompromising slow guitars and repetitive beats, there is so much more going on here. With it Giant Squid have created an EP so skilfully executed that its appeal will stretch far further than most bands whose feet are entrenched in the sludge would even dare.

Track Listing
1. Tongue Stones (Megaptera megachasmacarcharias)
2. Mating Scars (Isurus metridium)
3. Snakehead (Channidae erectus)
4. Figura Serpentinata (Pycnopodia sapien)
5. Cenotes (Troglocambarus maclanei)

Added: October 28th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Giant Squid Official Web Site
Hits: 2635
Language: english

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