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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Sludge: GIANTRIDER

Hey, I'm not above completely deep-throating a great band. In the span of just over three months, we've now twice featured sludge/doom/prog duo Giantrider. Since their September highlight as a New Band To Burn One To, they've expanded their catalog and released five supplemental helpings of the buzziest bile you'll hear this winter. This is no stretch, so embrace today's Sunday Sludge and get a bit more familiar with a band that's not gonna waste time checking your pulse.

If you thought sludge was narrow in scope, short on ambition, or easily pigeonholed, Giantrider just made you look like a collar-popping douche-rocket. The seven tracks burning on this self-titled mud-trip through time brim with plenty of sludge, sure. But allow for the fuzzy doom-drone cloak to guide you home and you just might be embarrassed. You thought you knew what they'd sound like, didn't you?

The lonely, desolate wind of Wasteland leaves you cold and cautious until a Dazed and Confused bass ribbon warms your pockets. Oh, that thickness drops and the slow static burns so good. This two-piece is in no hurry to crawl from the mud, while cHrist's vocals hover somewhere between Bobby Liebling and Jus Osborn. A patient Melvins bass blinks, wind returns, and listeners enter a rising dust storm of guitar pullbacks. The sprint through a thorny thicket reaches a muggy, bubbling swamp and stomps out slower than a drunk, confused coworker.

Consistent, static-y creep-in melts the retro-fuzz tip-tap on Giants. Drone-ish doom pairs with stoner cool mentality until fuzzy rhythm drops and breaks up the entire progression. If psychedelia had a live wire shoved up its ass, it may sound like this. The crescendo cautiously holds cHrist's whisper as doom bricks fall through your grandma's ceiling.

Planet is brief, crunchy, cymbal-driven instrumental bliss. I actually caught myself air-drumming until a bleak coffin approach put me on pause. Alright, pay your respects and move on. The teeming fuzz quagmire returns and guides you to Architect, medieval drudge with perfect timing. Stopping, starting, and leaving you to wonder how a bog and sand patch can coexist, Architect is less a song and more a swarm of buzzing hornets discussing who they wanna sting the fuck out of.

If Haight-Ashbury's hippies had any fucking sense, they would've dropped acid to the mud-fuzz assail of Orb. Silent Mike's drums just don't stop, and sticky sludge cinders are hurled into a field of shit without even the slightest consideration of relent. Forget it. This crackpot dune buggy lost its way and couldn't care less. Entering Warlords, we're perhaps misled by the distorted radio highlight. Well, the low tingle, the pie-in-the-oven warmth, the bass-thumb blisters compete to supplement the fuzz that's crackled to numbness. Rhythm, once again, builds to focused, militant drums and soda-jerk fizz.

I hope you've been patient. King's hollow mail-tube warble is slugged by the album's defining sludge riff, saving Giantrider's best moments for last. This song is a straight-jacket slam from wall to wall until psych-stoner pause rattles your core. An octave lower puts cHrist in Kirk Windstein company, but slow doom elements again pick up and drop muggy mist on September's worst impersonation of a bright day. Giantrider saved their best for last.

Maybe you need to have a beard to listen to Giantrider. Maybe you should seriously consider rubber sheets. Or maybe you'll have your earhole surgicalized and forget what you know about cubby-hole metal. Giantrider love their fuzz, love their scrapes, and love breaking down expectations by breaking down song structures. Put this in your front pocket (or glove box) and use as needed. Hell, here we go. Apply liberally. Y'know what? Just coat yourself in the gritty wax of this album and consider yourself ahead of the curve.

One thing we can't recommend is listening to Giantrider as you draw a full bath and tie a boombox to the radiator. It's not gonna work. Reg tried to warn you: "This shit is goddamn electric."

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