I’m sorry – I’ve never heard of Howling Giant before, and I’ve never heard part one of this project either, so I can’t be of much help filling you in on storylines, whether this is better than the first one, et cetera.
What I can tell you is that on part 2, Howling Giant have created some monolithic, sprawling soundscapes that have a real, cinematic feel to them that’ll have you wanting to get up off that flea bitten couch you’re sinking into, getting into your battered Fiat Uno and heading off to Death Valley to encounter some extra terrestrials.
That’s how the first track of this EP made me feel, anyways; Unfortunately I don’t have a car but I am listening to the record on a bus heading towards Streatham, so at least I feel I’m joining in with the spirit of things. Track two, The Pioneer, is a bass-driven slitherer, with drummer Zach Wheeler and bassist Roger Marks driving the whole thing between the awesome washed of heavy guitar from Tom Polzine.
Like I say, I’ve no idea what’s going on with the storyline, but that in no way tampers with the listener’s enjoyment of the superb, ambitious-yet-not-too-clever-for-it’s-own-good music.
Third track Visions is a bit longer, a bit less direct but just as enjoyable; building on a proggy beginning concealing a lurking Hammond from guest ivory tinkler Drew Harakal, the song resurrects names like Wishbone Ash and Uriah Heep without ever sounding tired or hackneyed, mysterious, priestly invocations ushering in some more classically stentorian riffage and creeping barrages of thunderous drums. I’m not usually impressed by this sort of malarkey – it’s normally far to beardy for my blood – but there’s something about Howling Giant that is, to paraphrase Robert Palmer, simply irresistible. It’s epic, for sure, but not unpleasantly so – these people aren’t just showing off for the sake of it – but it’s also inspiring and enthralling.
Acoustic interlude The Forest Speaks features SAXOPHONE NOODLING – that’s how prog Howling Giant really are – but it totally enhances the mood the band are looking to create so there’s no need to panic; the following track, Circle of Druids gets things back on a doomy keel with some choppy, sludgy guitar and furious drumwork, whilst closing track Earth Wizard goes back to the epic but sacrifices nothing in power or, indeed glory.
In short, this is excellent stuff – give it a listen if you can – you won’t regret it.
Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2 is out today. Buy it here: