Giant Walker wastes no time and pulls no punches getting to the good stuff. Wait… maybe it’s more accurate to say they pull all of the punches necessary to assert their expertise in gnarly rock to the listener.
The heavy progressive metal act from Newcastle, UK first hit my radar a few months back in the midst of a PR campaign (bands – take note. Good publicists are worth your while). This genre isn’t something I typically gravitate toward by default, but the accessibility of the songwriting and overall prowess of the vocals proved to be a formidable combination that captured my attention.
We are just now getting into the summer months in Ohio and I have many memories of experiencing hard rocks outdoors, feeling that kickdrum in my check and sweating bullets in the midday sun. I have no problem at all envisioning myself in that environment with Giant Walker on the stage in front of me. I’m bobbing my head, and I have an overpriced tall Miller Lite in my hand. I vaguely miss air conditioning but all is well in the world.
The emotion and riffs in this band pack a 1-2 punch that is cathartic in any setting – listening on crummy earbuds or in the midst of an outdoor summer festival. The climax of the song “Podha” is especially poignant in this regard. The wails of “you don’t know, you don’t know…” on top of that groove, leading into that ambient bass fade out is something I really enjoyed.
Candidly, not every melody I heard on the album I found to be satisfying – but this is subjective, so I’m not sure I can add any valuable extrapolation on this. I’ll just add that to casual or new fans of prog-metal, at times the music can have a “slogging” effect. This is more a function of the genre and not Giant Walker’s particular ability, though. Fortunately, the powerhouse vocals tend to overcome this well. Sometimes, the band also takes a left turn, such as the power balled “Past the Peak” – which might have the most memorable chorus on the album. There are also times in which the sheer emotion in the vocal delivery commands my full attention – and my critique of the other elements doesn’t matter.
This is a very solid effort from Giant Walker and they are certainly one to watch for me.