King Giant
Black Ocean Waves

It’s always exciting when a curiously undiscovered gem proceeds to pound your ears in all the right ways and assert itself as a genuine force you should have been listening too much earlier. Jamming out over the past decade in relative obscurity, Virginian bruisers King Giant are one such untapped gem returning to smack some sense into the uninitiated with their third full-length album, entitled Black Ocean Waves. King Giant play a big, fat boozy style of stoner doom meets southern metal, drawing influence from the likes of Down, Clutch, Mastodon and Orange Goblin. Influences aside King Giant cultivates a sound that is warmly familiar but unmistakably their own.

King Giant’s surly swagger and muscular sonic heft lends the album plenty of character and weight as the band relish in their straightforward yet forceful mode of song-writing, built on foundations of burly groove and memorable, hooky riffs and guitar melodies. While very much a guitar driven affair, there’s ample attention put towards crafting choruses and vocal melodies that stand out and go a long way towards justifying repeat listens, particularly when complimenting the bluesy riffcraft and soulful leads peppering the album. Dave Hammerly’s vocals possess just the right levels of hoarse melodicism and a weathered, gritty authenticity and the dude knows how to work within his limitations without being hamstrung by them. Once more his delivery, coupled with the pillar crushing grooves of the rhythm section and fat weighty riffs, whips up a fine combination blending loose, rock ‘n’ roll swagger with darker tones and lyrical themes. As such King Giant nails a winning balance between a fun jammy vibe and underlying seriousness.

Opening instrumental “Mal De Mer” slowly unfurls through gentle chords and a laidback swing before eventually ramping-up the intensity with some much heavier riffage and a smoking climax. “The One That God Forgot to Save” and “Requiem for a Drunkard” both feature catchy choruses and hooky melodies to accompany blazing guitar solos and instantly headbangable heavy riffs. The latter shows glimpses of King Giant’s song-writing dynamics and more restrained side, which is explored in greater depth on the mesmerizing “Red Skies”. This track is basically the centrepiece for the album; an epic, bloodthirsty tale of a serial killer on the high seas. It’s a multi-faceted beast that haunts, grooves and rocks out in equal measure, highlighted by the darkly hypnotic central melodies. Lengthy closer “There were Bells” is an equally epic but different sort of tune, building slowly before evolving into a chugging beast, showcasing Hammerly’s melodic and emotive vocals and ending the album on a rousing high note. My main quibble with Black Ocean Waves is that while the songs are all generally very good across the board, only “Red Skies” takes things to another level and as such the album falls just short of true greatness.

All in all Black Ocean Waves is an easy album to get behind. It’s a consistently solid listen from start to finish and is well equipped with catchy riffs and supercharged grooves attached to memorable songs that rumble infectiously in a hard rocking swagger. King Giant will probably go down as one of the better personal discoveries I’ve come across this year, and while it won’t infiltrate too many end of year lists, Black Ocean Waves is a very fine album well worth your time and attention.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
August 20th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jason T

    Reminds me of Tenebre with more Southern vibe and less goth.

    Stop making me buy things!


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