Friday, January 3, 2014

…you’re as good as dead: WOUNDED GIANT – ‘Lightning Medicine’

Living up to their namesake, Seattle three-piece Wounded Giant drunkenly lopes, staggers, and stumbles with a heavy step through the six tracks that make up their impressive debut, ‘Lightning Medicine’. The band’s debut doesn’t reflect the slow-paced, funereal crawl of a hulking beast in its death-throes, but rather a lumbering, unpredictable brute that when backed into a corner can muster enough energy and aggression to rain down upon his foes with thundering destruction. The six tracks of ‘Lightning Medicine’ are masterfully executed slabs of gritty, down-tempo heavy metal that includes a fair-share of spacey solos and trance-like moments.

Exemplifying the sound of the band and kicking off the album is “King Rawhead”, a trippy slab of metal that probably best showcases the individual talents of the band. Not content to simply crawl forth like a ten-ton snail, “King Rawhead” includes enough variety and changes in tempo to keep the song interesting and barreling forth for its ten minute runtime. What’s really impressive about the opener is the rhythm section, particularly the drums which sound nothing short of massive.

The theme established on “King Rawhead” is continued, in varying degrees of concentration, throughout the remaining five tracks of ‘Lightning Medicine’. If “King Rawhead” was a showcase for heavy, trippy riffs and booming, barbaric percussion, then “The Road to Middian” and “Rats in the Walls” were made for earth-quaking rumbles of bass as a pivotal sonic focus. “Rats in the Walls” includes flashes of sparsely used synths for an ominous and ethereal effect.

The fourth track, “Rabid Starlight”, really serves as a brief, moody atmospheric introduction to the album’s most unique track, “Sinistra”. While “Sinistra” is really no less heavy than any of the other five tracks of the album, it has a calmer, more hypnotic vibe. Closing out the album is the title track, “Lightning Medicine”, another thundering tune that is on par with “King Rawhead” in terms of textures and tempo changes. “Lightning Medicine” may be both the heaviest and catchiest track of the lot and the last three minutes has no shortage of blissed-out guitar leads and wah-damaged bass tones.

Wounded Giant’s ‘Lightning Medicine’ is the perfect balance of heft, sativa-induced psychedelia, and catchy-as-Hell songwriting. The band has honed in on and exploited a sound that walks the fine line between rock, stoner, and doom by recalling some of the greats of yore like the legendary Tad and modern day riff-slingers like Utah, Tombstones, or Goya. Highly recommended listening for laying waste to a small village or seeing your enemies driven before you…



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