Goya/Wounded Giant Split (Jan.3 2014 release) STB Records
1. Goya- No Place in the Sky (14:02)
2. Wounded Giant- The Room of the Torch (7:06)
3. Wounded Giant- Dystheist (6:08)
I know that the above statement is not a suitable review, but the two words above are pretty much my reaction upon hearing the Goya/Wounded Giant split for the first time. It literally knocked me back a bit. I am an old man, I was part of the early Hardcore/Metal underground of the 80s and 90s, and as I grew older, I lost track of any sort of underground music scene- I wasn’t even sure that one existed. Sure, I listen to Electric Wizard, Sleep, and Yob, and I have been a fan of bands like Neurosis, Melvins and Celtic Frost for years. I also remember when Black Sabbath put out Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (yes, I am old like your dad, but much cooler). That said, I am not approaching this review as a writer who is an expert on the new Doom/Stoner metal milieu, but as someone who has been involved in music for over 30 years, and knows what he likes. And I really like Goya and Wounded Giant. A lot.
Having mentioned Sleep, Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, it is clear that Goya and Wounded Giant are continuing the tradition that these ground-breaking bands started, although, it is also clear that each is adding their own special DNA to the genre- they have built a future for the scene from the shoulders of giants so to speak. Goya puts forth a viscous wall of sadness and despair with the song “No Place in the Sky” which clocks in at 14:02 minutes. I was afraid that I would be bored after 7 minutes, but I admit, I was hypnotized by the crushing riffs and the massive psychedelic fuzz that circled around me as I sat transfixed taking in every note. To me, the vocals are perfect for the music- no caterwauling like a Muppet on steroids. Jeff Owens’ vocal style exudes a sense of loss, sadness and resignation, and I appreciate that a lot of the newer bands coming out are relying on vocal skill rather than the cookie-cutter (monster?) style of over the top screaming and growling. Hearing the lyrics of a song is always a good thing I think.
While I find Goya to be a sludgy, heavy band, Wounded Giant brought me back to the 80s and 90s- I was hearing some traces of early Voivod (especially the vocals) and even some Trouble.The songs The Room of The Torch and Dytheist are hard to explain- the heaviness of the riffs, and the amazing drumming anchor the music, while the deft time changes and wall of reverb help Wounded Giant to stand out from many other bands in the genre. They just have a uniqueness about them that I feel will help them to rise above the pack in the near future. Again, the vocals are well done, giving the listener the ability to enjoy the lyrics as well as the music. I will be following both of these bands closely, as well as most any other band that comes out on STB Records. Release info is as follows:
Limited Vinyl Pressing of 430
Die Hard Edition – 80 pieces
Band Only – 100 pieces
OBI Series – 100 pieces
Not So Standard Edition – 150 pieces
Mastered specifically for vinyl
Exclusive artwork done by David Paul Seymour.
Now, STB Records is making quite a name for themselves. I first heard of them when Richmond, Virginia’s Druglord put out Enter Venus on STB earlier in the year. I was one of the lucky few to get in on this release, and I will say that the design was immaculate, with extras like patches, stickers and buttons, as well as really beautiful cover and inner sleeve art. This operation is run by Stephen Macioci, where he puts out up and coming, as well as unknown bands in the Doom/Stoner realm on ultra-limited editions, usually less than 500 available. Personally, I have been slow at the draw, having missed out on releases by Doctor Doom and Lightsabres. You have to be fast, because everything STB puts out immediately sells out. Like you gentle listener, I will be paying close attention to the STB Records Facebook Page, hoping to get my copy of the Goya/Wounded Giant split. Do not sleep on this one, this is a must have for any Doom lover’s collection.
Check out the STB Records Bandcamp page to stream The STB Sampler which contains many of the bands that they are putting out on ultra-limited vinyl. This is a great way to listen some new bands that need to be heard.