"Metridium Fields" (The End Records; 2006)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

As the scene gets squashed by more breakdown-manic metalcore acts and over-the-top death and black faux fanaticism, it should be no surprise that an undercurrent of rebellion against what should be rebellious by principle is quickly ranking its own fleet.  Most of this is coming courtesy of the sludge and art metal undergrounds.  The new Isis record, "In the Absence of Truth," is a fine example and the upcoming Melvins album, "A Senile Animal," is a restoration of classic indie sludge rock at its best. And then you have Japan’s Boris who can show American rockers how the shit is done, both in their live format and their brilliant "Pink" album.  Lair of the Minotaur, Mouth of the Architect, Subterranean Masquerade, Unexpect, Dead Rabbits, Ulver, Swarm of the Lotus, Totimoshi, Trephine MD, these are just a few examples of the many would-be infiltrators against the norm in metal.  Now, you can add Austin, Texas’ Giant Squid to the pack.

If you’ve had enough of the dripping mascara, the blunt obviousness of black garb that has become more of a uniform instead of a way of life, this means you’re probably ripe for Giant Squid. Defying categorization, this artistic rock band is a pleasant, off-kilter ride through different styles and voices within its own infrastructure, and this internal differentiation is the reason you’ll want to check it out. From the wild Johnny Rotten-like vocals on “Neonate” (that sounds like PIL meets Mudhoney), or the hypnotic Debbie Harry-esque vocals on “Versus the Siren” that sets up a rocking second half filled with electronic and brass supplementation and psychedelia amidst the grungy rock base, Giant Squid turns the knobs of the kitchen sink and lets the water run a bit before ripping it off the wall and throwing it.

Giant Squid appear to be shaking things up even in the underground when you sample the brute crunch of “Ampullae of Lorenzini” that sounds like a lost System of a Down epic or the quiet lullaby that dominates two-thirds of “Summit” before ripping through a quadraphonic blast that caps this song off exquisitely.  It’s the grand layering of this part of “Summit” and the booming “Revolution in the Water” that proves Giant Squid has far-reaching tentacles branching through the sonic ocean they dwell in.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:28 -0400.