The lockdown was tough on all of us, but especially for bands whose bread and butter is touring and selling merch. Some, like Nashville’s Howling Giant, have had to get creative in order to endure the quarantine. With regular Twitch streams as a way to connect with fans, including live jam sessions on Saturday nights, the progressive stoner rockers began creating impromptu instrumental jams to names created by audience members. Alteration, the new EP by the band, features four of these jams, crafted and refined in the studio. Look for the release on 4/20 and for now, check out their new single, Luring Alluring Rings.
With a rich psychedelic atmosphere, the track features an epic chord progressions, huge drum sound, and ethereal keyboard tones. The song has a beautifully melodic theme. In the middle of the track, listen for the soaring guitar solos and heavy chugging changeup, right before the triumphant return of the main theme in the last third of the song. Listen to Howling Giant’s new track, Luring Alluring Rings, and make sure to check out the full EP, Alteration, available for $5 on their Bandcamp page, out on 4/20.
Podcast Transcript: I’m The Purlenaut and you’ve landed on the Sonic Sofa, your home for stoner rock reviews and podcasts. Check out thesonicsofa.blog to read lots of articles and hear some awesome music. This month, we’ll be scientifically analyzing some extraterrestrial music specimens by Torche, Lewis and the Strange Magics, and Howling Giant. We’re in for a heavy ride, so buckle up, become one with The Sofa, and prepare for liftoff.
First up is Torche. Torche is a four-piece heavy metal band from from Miami, Florida. Their music has got heavy riffs and harmonic vocals. The band formed in 2004 and have released five full lengths and four EPs. Released by Relapse Records on July 12, Admission is their fifth album and it’s an absolute juggernaut. Here’s a track called Times Missing.
That was Torche with the song, Times Missing, off of their new album, Admission. Next up, on The Sonic Sofa, is Lewis and the Strange Magics. They’re a heavy-psych band from Barcelona, Spain. The band produces groovy, stylish, psychedelic music, with strong funk and jam undercurrents. The band just released their third full length, Melvin’s Holiday. It was released on September 6, 2019. It’s a concept album made up of nine, 1960’s and 70’s inspired, tracks that tell the story of Melvin, a rich man who divorces his wife and takes off on holiday in the Mediterranean, where he seeks happiness but finds only loneliness. Here’s a track from that album called Sad in Paradise.
And that was Sad in Paradise, from the new album Melvin’s Holiday, by Lewis and the Strange Magics. Up next, on The Sonic Sofa, is Howling Giant. After three solid EP’s, the Nashville, TN band has released their debut album, adding to their consistently heavy and creative catalogue of sci-fi influenced stoner-rock. Released on September 27th, The Space Between Worlds continues the band’s tradition of producing tight, heavy music with melodic vocals that tell an epic science fiction narrative. According to a statement by the band, the new album “is a concept album that follows the story of a huntress who travels the infinite metaphysical worlds brought into being by the dreams of humankind. In these realms, she encounters a dream eater which threatens to unravel the fabric of reality by devouring dreamers and destroying the dimensional gateways.” So there we go. Here’s a track from that album called Comet Rider.
And that was Howling Giant with the song, Comet Rider, from their new album, The Space Between Worlds. Thanks for listening to the Sonic Sofa podcast. Check out the Sonic Sofa on mixcloud.com/purlenaut and thesonicsofa.blog. Please support the bands by buying their music and merch. If you have music or an artist that you think should be featured on the blog or podcast, contact The Purlenaut at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.
It’s difficult to believe that The Space Between Worldsis in fact Howling Giant’s first full length album. After three solid EP’s, the Nashville, TN band has released their debut album, adding to their consistently heavy and creative catalogue of sci-fi influenced stoner-rock. Released on September 27th, The Space Between Worlds was preceded by the epic pair of Black Hole Space Wizard Parts 1 & 2 EP’s in 2016 and 2017, and the self-titled Howling GiantEP in 2015, which was remastered in March of this year.
On the new album, the band continues in their tradition of producing tight, heavy music with melodic vocals that tell an epic science fiction narrative. If you’re a fan of bands like Sleep, The Sword, or Torche, you’re going to dig the unique hybrid of those sounds that Howling Giant creates. Since the last release, core members Tom Polzine (Guitars/Vocals) and Zach Wheeler (Drums/Vocals) are joined by new bassist and vocalist, Sebastian Balten. Drew Harakal again lends his keyboard talents which really help to fill out and solidify the band’s sound with a consistent organ presence and many tasty synth tones.
According to a statement by the band, the new album “is a concept album that follows the story of a huntress who travels the infinite metaphysical worlds brought into being by the dreams of humankind. In these realms, she encounters a dream eater which threatens to unravel the fabric of reality by devouring dreamers and destroying the dimensional gateways.” The great thing about Howling Giant’s approach to sci-fi is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. They take an almost comic, Mystery Science Theater 3,000 approach to the content, but then out of nowhere, they’ll touch on something that resounds with the listener in a visceral, emotional way. In short, the sci-fi adds to the experience big time. Here’s the track-list for the album:
1. Comet Rider 4:30 2. Nomad 5:10 3. Ghosts in the Well 2:42 4. The River Guide 5:43 5. Ice Castle 4:37 6. Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express 4:04 7. Everlight 7:57 8. The Orb 7:08 9. Stone Giant 6:17
Vocals and Lyrics: All three members of the band lend their vocal talents, creating beautiful three-part harmonies throughout and are notably catchy on tracks like the opener, Comet, and the sword and sorcery influenced track, Ice Castle, which also features guest vocals by Jason Shi of ASG. The rhythm of the vocals is carefully measured and timed, oftentimes giving the vocals a chant-like quality. A good example of this is the track, Everlight, which even features OM chants. The River Guide is the only track to feature a spoken word narrative, which the album thankfully does not rely heavily upon as in past releases. The vocals can also at times be catchy and hilarious, and you’ll find yourself singing along to lyrics like, “The cables are connecting to my face,” as well as, “My engines run on fuel-injected rage,” on Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express.
The guitars are diverse throughout the album, from heavy and driving tracks like The Orb, Everlight, to layers of acoustics on Ghosts in the Well. Also, don’t miss the heavy, chugging guitar riffs, evident on tracks like Nomad and Stone Giant, which also has a killer double guitar lead. There are awesome leads throughout, and the way the walls of guitars blend with the grinding organ is awesome.
The keyboards sound amazing throughout. They provide a wide range of tones from grinding organs like in the opener, Comet, to sci-fi sounding synth interludes such as in The River Guide. The great thing about all of the keyboard layers is that they complement the songs and the other instruments and add vital layers of texture that, though they don’t always stand out, would be sorely missed if absent.
The rhythm section is powerful, consisting of hard driving drums and an amazingly deep and heavy bass. The drums creatively fill most available free space with all kinds of awesome fills and double kick blast beat action. The drums utilize a full set of toms, range from high pitches to thunderously low ones, but there’s also an obvious awareness of when things need to be simplified to make the song even heavier. The bass pairs perfectly with the drums, sometimes creating a tribal quality, like on Everlight. The bass even takes the spotlight with a slow and heavy bass solo on the track, Stone Giant, propelling the song into one of the heavy riffs on the album.
The band has some great merch to go along with the new release, including black and yellow color merge vinyl for U.S. orders, translucent green for UK/Euro orders, CD’s, and a brand new T-Shirt design by Joe Gettler. Their products are going fast. You can find the band on Bandcamp, as well as Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. Thank you for reading the Sonic Sofa. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.