King Giant - Dismal Hollow
While neglecting my reviewing duties this past week (a sabatical I find myself needing from time to time in order to put into context the hefty amounts of music I take in over a short period of time), I found myself both procrastinating about and attempting to figure out King Giant, a relatively young and up-and-coming stoner/doom rock/metal outfit from Virginia. Dismal Hollow is only their 2nd release but, right away I realized, this was a band who had a voice that commanded attention. That voice is foremost the actual voice of frontman Dave Hammerly, who often enough is a dead ringer for the likes of Glenn Danzig and whose phrasing, melody, aggression and lyrical swagger are all the elements needed to leave a mark. Oh, and the rest of the band isn't too shabby either.
"Appomattox" is a very impressive beginning, feeling faster than it is while relishing in a mid-paced rhythm punctuated with bright and twisting leads, the occasional shout-along vocal stab and a crushing bit of percussion. Think Mastodon by way of Kyuss tempered with the likes of Credence Clearwater Revival. "Tale of Mathias" has even more of a classic rock vibe, and tells a dark and sordid tale of a woman's revenge on her abusive, disrespectful husband. Another early standout. "A Steward's Prayer" is driven forward admirably by the guitar duo of Todd Ingram and David Kowalski, showcasing some killer hooks, thick riffs and skillful leads. Ahead of the curve of many bands of their kind. "Pistols and Penance" may be the best song on the album, and for some reason it reminds me of early Stone Temple Pilots. Maybe it's the vocal effects, maybe it's the grimy catchiness of the whole affair. With a powerful first half, Dismal Hollow rounds itself out with a slow paced epic in "The Fog" and the fantastic instrumental "Road to Eleusis".
Whether or not I'm correct in thinking so, King Giant and their record Dismal Hollow do so much more than craft a picture of fantastic stoner rock. What they do, more often than not, is cause me to remember a time when rock radio was fresh and exciting, when bands like STP, AIC, Pearl Jam, etc were consistent in their quality (this varies from band to band but most of the 90's were consistent as a whole for rock) and memorable in their hits. This is a band worth putting aside from the rest and paying close attention to. There's so much natural talent oozing from this collective that, if I had to guess, the next effort will be something to make the name King Giant household in many circles.
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