King Giant – Black Ocean Waves
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Editorially, I come full circle with this album premiere: King Giant was the first artist I discovered through Invisible Oranges. In that article, founder Cosmo Lee said, “Bands like King Giant make me utterly depressed about the music industry.”
I echo that sentiment. King Giant’s continued obscurity infuriates me. Their sophomore album, Dismal Hollow, turned out to be one of my most listened-to albums of 2012; it was self released, as will be its follow-up, Black Ocean Waves. Cormorant’s signing officially makes King Giant my favorite unsigned band in the country.
I have no idea why King Giant still hasn’t been signed, as they arguably offer more mainstream appeal than the last year’s worth of bands featured on Invisible Oranges put together. Their sound is big, straightforward and bluesy, recalling Corrosion of Conformity circa Deliverance — my favorite record of theirs — as well as Down and Kyuss. King Giant’s approach is “meat and potatoes” in the sense that Argentine filet Mignon and rosemary roasted fingerlings is “meat and potatoes.”
Black Ocean Waves reminds me of why the verse-chorus-verse metal-and-roll model worked in the first place: it’s a solid foundation to showcase the fundamental building blocks of songs, namely riffs and lyrics. As it so happens, King Giant have both in spades. In regards to lyrics, vocalist David Hammerly punches above his weight as a storyteller. For evidence of both, see album highlight and closer “There Were Bells,” a tribute to the band’s former singer Bob Dotolo and other fallen friends. It’s the kind of touching metallic ballad that has fallen out of favor for no real reason, and the same kind of song that made Royal Thunder’s Crooked Doors such a treat as well. That band should be touring with King Giant, not Halestorm. They could call it the Tears for Beers tour. I’d attend multiple dates: albums with this kind of authentic and personal darkness taste better with salty suds.
Before as you stream the record, take a gander at this track-by-track lyric guideline that guitarist Todd Ingram provided for us. I’m not sure that there will be any liner notes with the physical releases of the record, so consider these free supplemental material.
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”Mal de Mer”
We recorded an instrumental on our last album Dismal Hollow and felt inspired to include one on this album as well. Mal de Mer means seasickness in French. This track supports the nautical theme illustrated by the album’s artwork. Pleasing and tranquil chords along with interleaving melodies turn into soaring solos and dual guitar harmonies.
”The One That God Forgot To Save”
A brutal aggressive song about a hooker’s revenge complete with hard driving rhythms and a blistering solo.
”Requiem for a Drunkard”
A great groove rocker of an addict’s spiral into madness and despair.
This song was selected to be our first video release for Black Ocean Waves. A composition of epic scale details the murder of an entire whaling ship’s crew by its Captain.
”Trail of Thorns”
Our second video release from the album. A full tilt straight ahead rocker chronicling a man with plenty of scores to settle. When we were cutting the backup vocals we had Kowalski on the console and J. Robbins yelling the background vocals into the microphones with us. It was a blast.
”Blood of the Lamb”
A hauntingly moody song that examines the timeless quest for redemption as experienced by a member of an Appalachian Pentecostal Holy Roller congregation. As we were tracking this song, Kowalski mentioned he thought the break at the 2:20 mark would be perfect for a Hammond organ part. J. Robbins fired up an old organ he had sitting in the big room. We gave him the chord progression and D.K. ran the console while J. played the keys. It turned out great!
”The Gentleman Carny”
This track should have been the theme song to American Horror Story’s last season. It kicks off with heavy doom, but continues on a musical journey to frame the story of a serial killer Carny.
”There Were Bells”
The concept for the song was based upon all of the friends we’ve lost in the past few years, many of which were due to suicide or addictions. It’s a different kind of song musically/stylistically for King Giant, but we felt it best captured what we’ve experienced and were feeling.
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