"Dismal Hollow"

By Earthdog

I don't know why it has taking me so long to getting around to review this masterpiece by King Giant but I apologize to the band and perhaps more importantly to the readers because you guys and gals need to know how kick-ass this album is. If you have ever wondered what Black Sabbath might have sounded like if they had have been born in the deep south of  the USA instead of the industrial hole of Birmingham in the UK, then listen to King Giant. The band are doomy, down and dirty but with a deep southern rock, almost bluesy type swagger that makes this essential listening for anyone who enjoys a no-holds barred riffy, catchy, boozy kind of heavy rock album.

There are eight irresistible rock masterpieces on this release, kicking off with a tune titled 'Appomattox.' The inspiration for the song comes from the final battle of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and that is important to mention because this song sounds like a band heading into battle with the intent of destroying all in front of them. Vocalist Dave Hammerly has a commanding voice, perfect for the vibe they are putting across. He has a southern style crooning growl that is a killer hook to have in combination with dual guitars of Todd Ingram and David Kowalski. The main element this band has going for it is grooves and lots of them. The following track, 'Tale of Mathias' is a good example of how groovy this band can be without ever missing a beat in the Sabbathian heaviness department. This track is far moodier than the rest of the record, made even more so with the addition of female vocals from Alexia Church.

The album gets a doom boost with the next tune, 'A Steward’s Prayer' which is an atmospheric, menacing doomy piece of cool riffage and infectious but slighty haunted melody lines. The album shifts direction for a brief period with the acoustic opening of the next tune 'Pistols and Penance.' It doesn't last too long though before again, the flood-gates are opened with more of the heavy doom laden riff work but this is one of the albums more mellow moments overall. It even features what sounds like a cello in its closing section. Next up is '6 O’clock Swill' that puts the album back on its bludgeoning, ever so heavy journey with more great guitar work, mesmerizing vocals and infectious hooks and grooves. 'The Fog' signals another change in direction to sinister doom riffage and whisky soaked grooves. The album is full of memorable guitar solos but this track has one of the very best... pure magic!

'Road to Eleusis' is the album's instrumental piece and a very moody one at that with menacing riffage and  a great melodic feel and again the spotlight is on the excellent guitar work. The album then ends on another classic King Giant stomper called 'O' Drifter' Such is the greatness of this album that this is a killer tune but at the same time, the weakest cut on the record. Without a doubt, 'Dismal Hollow' is a step up from the 'Southern Darkness' album. It is not a huge leap but then again 'Southern Darkness' is a killer album in its own right. If King Giant hadn't made an impact on you before, they should now. This album is almost perfect in every detail....9.5/10.