I was a big fan of Nashville trio Howling Giant’s debut two-part EP, Black Hole Space Wizard – a modern take on stoner rock with some major progressive nerd-rock leanings. A couple years after the latest installment, the band has delivered its first full-length in The Space Between Worlds.
This nine-track effort spans roughly 48 minutes of sci-fi infused heavy rock. Opening track “Comet Rider” pairs a pleasant melody with a spacy organ – put still offers some incredibly heavy riffs, like the breakdown that kicks in around 1:40. The latest Lo-Pan comes to mind here, with its brighter tones and atmosphere. “Nomad” hits with a slow ‘n heavy riff right off the bat, though it shifts to more of a lighter, shimmery sound, with a slightly heavier chorus driven by soaring vocals. They get even lighter on the acoustic-driven, sub-three-minute “Ghosts in the Well,” which might be considered an interlude, albeit not an instrumental one.
“The River Guide” does offer some solid riffs, though they seem buried beneath the vocals in the mix – and it’s not all riffs all the time, either, with a very mellow interlude around the two-minute mark, leading into a spoken-word section about 3:30 in, before they build up to one last riff barrage in the final minute-twenty. On the other hand, the steady chug and vocal melodies of “Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express” brings the “sludge pop” of Torche or ASG to mind – making this one of the album’s highlights.
On the whole, while it’s not an unpleasant record to listen to, this is unfortunately a whole lot less heavy than what I remember from the first two EPs.
(Blues Funeral Recordings)