King Giant is a southern doom outfit hailing from Virginia launching their new one, “Dismal Hollow”, as a follow up to the 2009 release of “Southern Darkness”. These southern gentlemen have embraced all that is great with southern sludge and doom and are poised to make even a more fierce strike with this sophomore release. Southern sludge/doom metal is a powerful thing when it gets going on all cylinders, and this release is firing in all the right places.
The release creaks open with ‘Appomattox’ and it only takes a few bars to realize this has been a gloriously bleak opener, deep groves, doom filled lyrics, down trodden riffs, in short the total package. As with many tracks on this release the guitar solo work is slow and deliberate, yet filled with emotion and power. Used judiciously, these solos are perfectly integrated into the soul of the music without being part of any formula. You will find no traditional patterns of any kind here, only thoughtful inclusion when needed to accentuate the music and lyrical content.
‘Tale of Mathias’ follows ‘Appomattox’, and as in the first tune, King Giant uses their creativity with guitar and solo work. Here there are some nice solos and riffs throughout the song, really adding to the overall fabric of the works as a whole. This is no way takes away from vocals, bass or percussion of this release. Vocals are deep and in perfect tone, bass is driving and in lock step with the percussion work. Each instrument stands out when needed and then falls back in line. This is just what we want from gritty southern metal, and doom metal in particular. If we need an example of musical cooperation this is the release we can find it on. Perfect accents from each instrument, including voice, sprinkled like gold dust in a stream are part and parcel to the soul of this album.
Having spent ten years in Appalachia and wandered a few hollows, rest assured this is pure moonshine and swamp metal at its best, with this release being the soundtrack to many in the hills. ‘Pistols and Penance’ and ‘A Steward’s Prayer’ have the perfect mix of sludge, groove, and doom to make them anthems of any respectable southern sludge fan. The best representation of their overall musicianship and their ability to capture the spirit of the area is found in the instrumental ‘Road To Eleusis’. If one could describe a doom metal centered band as soulful, here would be the place to insert that adjective. The near perfection capturing the mood and feeling for a part of the United States can be found nowhere but here.
In short, there is not a bad track on this release. They are all packed with southern sludge just as it should be. If you are fans of American Doom bands Pallbearer, Divine Pale, Hail!Hornet, and the like give King Giant a listen you will not be disappointed. This is moonshine fuelled down and dirty southern sludge, with serious groove and power thrown in for good measure. It certainly is not one to be missed by doom fans and for that matter any fan of metal will find power and goodness in “Dismal Hollow”.