Virginia’s King Giant accurately cites Black Sabbath, Clutch, Down, and Eyehategod as influences. The desperate, clawing spirit of the latter looms large here. The band’s bio states it was “born from personal tragedy and drug addiction.” Even though this six-song demo doesn’t have printed lyrics, I’d believe it just from the sound.

King Giant is that rare band that makes Eyehategod sound complex. The songs have thick, heavy riffs, with vocal patterns that border on simplistic. Although their repetitiveness initially sticks out, the vocals help hammer the riffs into yr skull. The riffs are often bluesy, though they’re not as Southern-fried as the band’s influences. Heaviness rules here, so you’re not going to boogie down like you would with, say, COC. In fact, some parts remind me of ’90s noise rock (AmRep, Touch & Go) in their raw, crusty intensity.

David Kowalski and the mighty Don Zientara of Inner Ear Studios turn in a hard-hitting, natural-sounding recording. It’s both startling and refreshing to hear sounds this honest and straightforward these days. You can pick up this demo directly from the band.