Giant of the Mountain – Moon Worship (self-released, 25 February 2014)
Giant of the Mountain – The Empty Quarter (Burning Dogma Records, 27 May 2016)
Emerging from the Plano/Dallas region of northern Texas way back in 2008, the beast known as Giant of the Mountain was formed by guitarist/vocalist Cody Daniels along with Randi Matejowsky, who soon switched from guitar to drums. The pair worked with a series of different bassists as they unleashed a couple EPs and a full-length album over the next several years. By the band’s fifth anniversary in 2013, they had joined up with Alexander Salazar on bass and doubling as a second vocalist — and this is the line-up that remains intact to this day. This threesome recorded and released the album Moon Worship, a masterpiece of progressive-death insanity, a little over two years ago, and now they’re back with the brand-new EP The Empty Quarter which comes out at the end of this week. If you aren’t already on the GOTM bandwagon, keep on reading to find out what you’ve been missing!
2014’s Moon Worship starts off with the ten-minute title track, bursting through the gate as a crazily chaotic form of death metal. Much in the same way that a drummer coordinates all four limbs, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes alternating, to produce intricate patterns and rhythms, here the band functions like a huge three-headed and six-armed beast, integrating the guitar, bass, and drum parts together seamlessly into complex, constantly shifting rhythms. This on its own would have been worth the price of admission, but the fast and cerebral death metal is really only half of the story. Later in this song, the band mellows out a bit, going into a nice bass/drum groove with a spaced-out guitar solo; then the guitars join in the groove, giving off an early Black Sabbath vibe.
Elsewhere, “Spiral of the Serpent” starts off in an old-school heavy metal vein, with wailing lead guitars giving way to chugging death riffs, followed by a definite foray into doom territory. While “Terror in its Purest Form” starts off with a clean guitar that uses a vaguely Scorpions-like tone, later in the album things really get turned upside-down, as “Cult of the Moon” uses acoustic guitars in a kind of madrigal setting, and “Call to the Depths” likewise starts with an acoustic part — this one with lots of string-sliding fret-noise — that soon gets replaced by an ominous organ part (which is then replaced itself, by a doomy slow jam, that eventually ends up replicating the organ melody in death-doom riff format). For those who are fans of digital physical media, the two-minute CD-only bonus track “Ending” is full of even more acoustic guitar stuff, ending the album on a bit of a wistful note. Accompanying this wide variety of musical styles, sometimes we get death growls and sometimes vocals that are more melodic — sometimes even harmonized clean singing. In the case of “Flesh Divinity,” growled vocals get paired with high-pitched screamed ones (which is one of many times this band brings to mind the stunning array of different feelings and sounds employed by the band Monsterworks).
The new EP The Empty Quarter presents a total of four tracks (including the two-minute quick waltz-tempo romp “Into Dust” that closes out the release), and for the most part the band stays with familiar territory. After teasing us with a slow introduction, “Crawl” explodes into another fine example of hyper-chaotic death riffs that bounce between the guitars and drums, then using both instruments in unison; here also we find more growled/snarled vocals as well as more harmonized melodic singing. With “A Dream So Deep,” following an intro with cleanish guitars and slow-grooving drums, the band veers more into fast blackened death-thrash territory, and the slower, heavier “Instinct” also brings out more blackened-sounding vocals (in addition to some more clean vocals, and a whole range of in-between styles, again reminiscent of Monsterwork as the song continues to grow in intensity and complexity).
You can grab Moon Worship on CD (and for only two bucks, how can you go wrong??) here, or download for any price you choose using the Bandcamp player below. The Empty Quarter is currently available for preorder right here. Either one — or both! — would make a fine addition to your collection of literally any style of metal.
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