This is hardly the kinda stuff you’d expect to hear outta Nashville. While Music Row is all caught up in producing purely putrid pop music and inexplicably marketing it as country, a forward-thinking, heavy-rock trio has emerged from deep beneath the wreckage of country music’s soul. Sonically, Howling Giant seem to be the missing link between Monster Truck and Mastodon, and they top it off with whacked-out, sci-fi lyrics about outer space.
It’s somewhat fitting this 20-minute effort opens with “Mothership,” which happens to be the name of a killer little band from Texas. The Giant’s output is equally uplifting, with Hammond organ swirls underpinning some rocksteady grooves. I think they even quote Data from Star Trek on this track—hey, if that’s what you’re into, then may the force be with you.
“Exodus: Earth” combines winding riffs and a soaring chorus, a heavy, acidic vegetable served with a side of Hawkwind. “Dirtmouth” comes roaring out of the gate with ringing, reverberating riffage before taking on a rawer, darker approach that initially reminds me of Venom (especially in the vocal department). But unlike Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon, these guys can really play, and they take this number far beyond basic black metal as it shreds onwards and upwards.
The EP ends on a gloomier note, with the seven-minute “Clouds of Smoke.” This one starts off slow and sparse, building up slowly into a proggy, atmospheric number reminiscent of criminally underrated Boston outfit Blue Aside. Incidentally, Howling Giant’s bio also mentions they have ties to Beantown. There must be something in the watah?