Saturday, February 7, 2015

…all hail nothing: Goya/Wounded Giant – split LP

Goya and Wounded Giant—two heavy-hitting up-and-comers who have already released impressive debuts—have been united under the STB Records banner to release a split album that builds upon and surpasses much of what either band has produced in the past and, hopefully, serves as a harbinger for great things to come from both camps in the upcoming year. Goya’s ‘777’ (review HERE) exploited the dingier, seedy underbelly of stoner metal in the vein of such bands as Electric Wizard, Glitterhouse Records-era Monster Magnet, or Stonehelm with hooks thickly veiled under a canopy of nearly impenetrable dope-smoke. Wounded Giant, on the other hand, released an album that was mainly characterized by a lumbering, drunken aggression that was interestingly rivalled by melody and groove in ‘Lightning Medicine” (review HERE). From the sound of it both bands have continued along their respective trajectories and have delved even further into the cauldron black depths of glacial-paced, down-tuned metal—each with their own unique take.

Goya’s offering is the epic track “No Place in the Sky,” a mesmerizing tune of murky fuzz and feedback accentuated with an occasional moment of wah-pedal abuse. Goya’s influences are far from being thinly veiled and, to be honest, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons to Electric Wizard’s ‘Witchcult Today,’ but Goya is far from being a mere clone. Jeff Owens’ husky, sonorous croon can be the perfect antidote for some of Oborn’s whinier moments. “No Place in the Sky” relies heavily on repetition to make its point—point that is embellished with subtle nuances and effects so as not to grow tedious or overstay its welcome. “No Place in the Sky,” along with the band’s ‘Satan’s Fire’ EP are easily some of the finest tunes from the Arizona three-piece.

Wounded Giant offer a bit more variation, but that can mostly be attributed to their two tracks to Goya’s one. “The Room of the Torch” is carried along by the rhythm section punctuated by a bass-heavy groove. This is straight up bludgeoning metal that really picks up with a fist-pumping chorus. Where Goya’s opening track was intent on warping the listener’s mind it would appear as if Wounded Giant was determined to stave in their skull. “Dsytheist” just may be the highlight of the entire split with its pummeling, barbarian-like strut and inventive riffs, it slightly echoes the creativity displayed on “Sinistra” from their debut. “Dystheist” matches heft with catchiness for one of the most kickass tunes to be released yet this year.

So there you have it…Goya will get you high and transfix your soul while Wounded Giant dashes your skull against a brick wall. These are both bands to watch out for not only because of their killer debuts, but especially based on the strength of this split release. I’ve heard rumors of a second pressing from STB Records later this year. Don’t sleep on it…

Goya Facebook

Goya Bandcamp

Wounded Giant Facebook

Wounded Giant Bandcamp

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