Rock is dead. There, I said it. Of course there are plenty of caveats, but the days where rock ruled the radio and modern pop world are gone. So when Day 14 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks to highlight a hidden gem or a band you can’t believe is not huge, well…I can believe it. But that won’t stop me from talking about the stoner rock goodness Howling Giant have been bringing to the table for a while now, and how their first full length The Space Between Worlds shows a band primed for whenever the tables may turn on what is deemed “popular” in music…
From the opening moments of “Comet Rider” the bands kicks in with what has fast become a signature for all their music: great melodies, clean soaring vocals and harmonies to the heavens. Sound-wise it’s all fuzz and psychedelic stoner riffs, but Howling Giant never sacrifice hooks, and even when things root down in the soil with doom-lite dirges like “Nomad” or “The Orb” they’re braced by uplifting hooks and lines that make everything feel balanced and uplifting.
Though they’ve since expanded to a four-piece, it certainly doesn’t hurt that The Space Between Worlds is a trio performance, long know to be my favorite rock combination. Unafraid of pushing into different shades, there are moments that touch on recent Mastodon and even Tool (shout everything being in 7/4), although if you’re looking for more recent and similar touchstones look no further than equally great rock bands like Lo-Pan, Spaceslug or – better yet – Sergeant Thunderhoof, with whom they crafted one of my favorite pieces of music in 2020.
Anyway, crushing rock riffs, heaps of melody and great singing you can join in on…that’s all I want from my hard rock, and Howling Giant deliver it in spades. Along with heaping doses of interesting twists and instrumental meanderings. It’s enough to make you forget your pain and troubles, and right now that’s what I want most of all.