I was all over the first installment of this Nashville trio’s EP trilogy last year, so I’ve got no reason not to listen to Part 2. And hey, if you like a little Hawkwind with your Black Pyramid, then you’ve got not reason not to listen, too!
This second installment from Howling Giant spans 32 minutes, spread out over six songs, starting off with “Henry Tate,” a five-minute slice of swirling space rock, with shades of Hawkwind, entirely instrumental aside from the occasional spoken-word sound clip. The fuzzy, bass-driven intro of “The Pioneer” hella reminds me of Black Pyramid’s breakout track “Visions of Gehenna,” although it takes a slightly lighter path from there, reminding me more of Torche—especially in the vocal department. And man, that riff that kicks in about two-and-a-half minutes in really fuckin’ smokes!
“Visions” slows things down and heavies ‘em up, a seven-and-a-half-minute epic that’s about the gloomiest-sounding thing I’ve heard outta Nashville since Johnny Paycheck was in his prime. (It even has a campfire singalong!) The combination of soaring, melodic vocals and slow, churning riffs works especially well, bringing Pallbearer to mind. And I gotta say, this singer can really sing!
Following a lush, two-minute instrumental containing at least one stringed instrument (“The Forest Speaks”), “Circle of Druids” kicks out the spacey stoner jams with some solid organ accents. The verses and soaring chorus are bigly Big Business, with some spacey, proggy riffs leading us out toward the end. “Earth Wizard” ends things on a heavy note, another seven-minute stomper that’s a little more mellow and melodic than its predecessor, though it still packs a pretty decent wallop.
Man, this is one of the rare cases where the sequel is even better than the original!