Giant Squid


Written by: MN on 30/11/2014 16:22:51

One of the more satisfying surprises of my recent discoveries, Giant Squid, is a very original project that had me intrigued from the get go. Alone a band name as funny as Giant Squid deserves some attention. Straddling the borders of post-anything and doom metal, Giant Squid are masters of suspense and athmosphere-building. Their soundscape is theatrical, ominous, unsettling yet enlightening all at once, whilst their conceptual narrative envelopes you and develops imagination. Giant Squid have been around since 2002, and all of their releases have been received to generally high praises. This time around, "Minoans" marks the return of the San Franciscans to the limelight.

A concept album inspired by the namesake civilization that existed on the mediterrenean island of Crete, chronicling the demise of their civilization, the album unveils the important elements of their history, plus the eventual demise caused by a cataclysmic tsunami. Now, whether Aaron Gregory sat and deciphered Linear B scriptures in the confines of the palace of Knosses is not certain, he has however successfully interpreted the mysticism behind this forlorn civilization and made a theatrical soundtrack to which we can form our own imagination. Most original to this project is the incorporation of cellos not unlike bands like Mythery and Judgement Day. Other influences are those of Neurosis and Isis, but a befitting comparison is to be made to the Ancient Greek music revival band Daemonia Nymphe. Now, Giant Squid may not exactly be playing with Doric verses and ancient woodwind instruments, but their sound alludes some ancient sounds - or at least this is what I hope those sounded like.

The album commences gorgeously with opener "Minoans" where the dual vocals of Gatz and Gregory are supplemented by a thunderous double pedal to signal the climax of the composition. "Thera" has some grand piano verses and beautiful cello work and at times Jim Morrison-esque vocals. "Sir Arthur Evans" is a tribute to the namesake archaelogist who discovered the ruins of Knosses back in 1905, and the singing is in this song morphed into a mix of Tom Waits having a raucous bar discussion with Wayne Hussey. Album highlight is "Mycenaens" where the heavy bass and lute-tunes are the most asia-minoric of the record, as the oriental mysticism reaches a peak and creates some very vivid imagery, especially supplied by the deathly organs sneaking their way into the mix.

Giant Squid is a band to check out. Were I to nitpick at anything, I would say the production could be slightly more crisp, but I think I would be scolded by their producer, namely Tim Green, who also produces for the seminal 'Melvins. The slightly raw tunes do have their charm but in the end it's a matter of opinion. This is still definitely a record to immerse yourself in by allowing it to play through uninterrupted. I might suggest to even read up on some history regarding the Minoans, it is in fact quite fascinating!

Download: Mycenaens, Palace Of Knossos, Minoans
For The Fans Of: Omega Massif, Kylesa

Release date 28.10.2014
Translation Loss

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