Sleeping Giant Sign to Copper Feast Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Always like good news, and a previously-independently-issued album getting picked up for a vinyl release is almost always that. Certainly so in the case of Aussie three-piece Sleeping Giant, who put out their self-titled full-length (review here) this summer have have been snagged by Copper Feast Records for an LP edition. Actually, to be more specific, a couple LP editions, as there will apparently be different regional variants. The label, founded last year with releases from HorsehunterSchool Disco, Pseudo Mind Hive and LowFlyingHawks under its belt, has also apparently relocated to Australia, so getting a band like Sleeping Giant on board may be a sign of a burgeoning regional focus. Certainly plenty of Oz heavy to go around. It’s like they grow on trees down there.

Preorders start at the end of the month for Sleeping Giant‘s Sleeping Giant, and I’m not sure when the release will actually be or what the band’s plans are for after, but in the interim, like I said at the outset, a vinyl version is good news for platterhounds of all stripes.

Of course, the record’s also streaming at the bottom of this post, because it’s the future and we can do that here:

sleeping giant

Copper Feast Records – Sleeping Giant

Sound the alarm…it’s announcement time!

I’m beyond excited to welcome the brilliant Sleeping Giant to the Copper Feast family. At the end of the month, we will be opening up pre-orders for the first and only vinyl pressings of the self-titled debut LP from these Melbourne/Bendigo based stoner metal riffheads.

‘Sleeping Giant’ will be our first release since my relocation to Australia, which means that this fantastic album will be available in both Australia and the UK/EU in two region exclusive variants (details to follow later).

Having been around for nearly 6 years now, formerly under the name Lowpoint, ‘Sleeping Giant’ is an absolutely, absolutely killer intro to the band and well worth the wait! Some of the most crushing moments in stoner rock this year alongside some gorgeously mellow soundscapes…Melbourne’s done it again.

Sleeping Giant is:
Steven Hammer – Guitars/Vocals
James Wright – Bass
Pali Emond-Glenn – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sleepinggiantband/
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https://www.facebook.com/CopperFeastRecords/

Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Giant (2019)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 21

Posted in Radio on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Last time around, I actually managed to post the playlist for The Obelisk Show before Gimme Radio aired it, and I thought that worked pretty well, letting people know what was going to be on and all that. As it stands, I haven’t even had the chance to record the voice breaks yet for this one, but it’ll get done before airtime. Again, lots of new stuff this episode and a lot of it drawn from recent coverage around here, as well as some stuff that will be upcoming, whether it’s V‘s new single or the 20-minute Comacozer track that ends out.

That song and the We Lost the Sea track before it make up the final 35 minutes of the show. I wanted a couple longer tracks this time out, so between those, VMonolordOblivion Reptilian and Hound the Wolves, I feel like we got there. There’s a couple rockers up front with Bison MachineBlackwater Holylight and Lightning Born, but from then on pretty much all bets are off. I never know how that kind of thing will be received by the Gimme listenership, but screw it, I haven’t been fired yet, so I’ll take that for what it tells me. Not much, I suppose.

Dug these songs though. The Lightning BornSleeping Giant and The Black Wizards cuts were standouts from their respective albums, and the new Goatess single was just premiered elsewhere, but I’ll be covering the album too, so wanted to give that a chance to shine here. And a little bit of Crowbar seemed appropriate as I’ve already seen them once this month and plan to do so again before the month is out. Some bands you just can’t get enough.

Thanks for checking it out if you get the chance.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.16.19

Bison Machine The Tower Seas of Titan*
Blackwater Holylight Motorcycle Veils of Winter*
Lightning Born Salvation Lightning Born*
BREAK
The Black Wizards Kaleidoscope Eyes Reflections*
Sleeping Giant Serpent Sleeping Giant*
Oblivion Reptilian Alien Shit Fried on Rock*
Hound the Wolves Godhead Split with Glasghote*
BREAK
Crowbar All I Had I Gave Crowbar (1993)
Monolord The Bastard Son No Comfort*
V Phantasmagoria Led into Exile*
Goatess Dunerider Blood and Wine*
BREAK
We Lost the Sea Towers Triumph & Disaster*
Comacozer Kykeneon Journey Mydriasis*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Aug. 30. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Giant: Awake in Visions

Posted in Reviews on August 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sleeping giant sleeping giant

Sometimes a band comes right out of their second rehearsal with a batch of songs, ready to hit the studio and make a record — or at least that’s how it feels. That’s not the case with Sleeping Giant, who emerge from Australia’s crowded heavy underground some six years after forming as Lowpoint. Their self-titled and self-released-but-probably-not-for-long debut album is the result of the subsequent half-decade of writing and woodshedding, and comprises a clean eight tracks and 42 minutes of solid-foundation fuzz rock, turning influences from earlier Queens of the Stone Age, Lowrider, Kyuss and more rolling fare into a collection of original songs that bask in their fuzzy familiarity but still feel geared toward their own approach, perhaps because they’ve been so worked on. Even the recording process for Sleeping Giant‘s Sleeping Giant took a year, which sounds excruciating, but the resultant long-player finds guitarist/vocalist Steven Hammer, bassist James Wright and drummer Pali Emond-Glenn sounding well aware of who they are as a band and able to manifest that in their material without losing their first-album edge.

Even without knowing it was so long in coming together, the songs don’t feel off-the-cuff. They feel worked on, thought out, considered, and that’s by no means a detriment to their execution, which remains plenty energetic. That’s an achievement unto itself, but it’s just one of the ways Sleeping Giant ultimately impress throughout, as they move through a tracklisting that’s no less impeccably arranged than the songs themselves in terms of bringing out the different sides of the band’s approach, growing richer as it goes from side A to B in what’s clearly a vinyl-intended progression — the cover by Emond-Glenn would seem geared toward that as well — that nonetheless flows smoothly throughout, making its way toward the three-part finale, “Visions I,” “Visions II” and “Visions III,” which together introduce new elements of atmosphere and aggression to the proceedings, taking the straightforward core of heavy rock from which Sleeping Giant work and using it as a basis for exploring different ideas. However long it took to make it happen, there’s little more one could reasonably ask of a debut album.

Sleeping Giant opens, suitably enough, with “Sleep,” which begins an initial salvo that will continue basically through the first four songs to one degree or another. A mid-paced groove takes hold with effective, laid back vocal melodies overtop from Hammer and a fuzz that’s both warm-sounding and right on in terms of capturing a desert-style feel while still giving Wright‘s bass room to make an impression. One is reminded early on of Sungrazer to a degree, but Sleeping Giant are on a less jammy trip overall, and the roll of “Sleep” is offset by the sheer thrust of “Temptress,” which pushes the vocals forward in the mix and offers as support for them a fervent push and tempo kick, the trade from one to the next crucial to understanding how side A works, since the subsequent “Empire” and “Serpent” will essentially make the same moves, though of course there are changes in the approach to be considered.

sleeping giant

“Temptress” resolves itself in a nod and final shove before dropping out to a series of curses — somebody’s mad about something, comically — and leading to the six-and-a-half-minute “Empire,” which is a highlight for its blend of bounce and roll, the chorus reminding of some lost late-’90s/early-’00s gem from somewhere in Northern Europe, even as the tones and production by Erek Ladd and Jarod Meadows remains modern. Guitar drops out in the second half of “Empire” for a moment to let the bass introduce the apex nodder riff and the slow-motion swagger that ensues is more than welcome upon the return of the full tonal breadth. In comparison, “Serpent” — also the most direct source of the Lowrider comparison above — is arguably the highest-energy of the bunch, with a careening Homme-style central riff and sense of movement brought out all the more by the shift into a slower section at the midpoint, only to return to a speedier finish. Again, not by any means revolutionary, but effective in conveying Sleeping Giant‘s priorities, which are clearly geared toward songcraft.

The basic structure of side B changes, thanks largely to the aforementioned “Visions” trilogy. “Gypsy” unfolds very much in the character of side A’s tradeoffs between longer and shorter songs, finding Hammer‘s malleable vocals in a lower register over a slower riff before opening up for the chorus, trading tempos much in the spirit of “Serpent,” only reversed. In the overarching progression of the record, “Gypsy” is inherently outshined by “Visions,” but its being there makes sense and the work it does to tie the two halves of the album together isn’t to be forgotten. Still, it’s a significant turn when the instrumental “Visions I” begins its subdued unfolding, reminding of progressive-era Truckfighters‘ less jumpy moments, with a linear build toward the heavier guitar’s full brunt.

They get there before the track’s three minutes are up, and turn directly into “Visions II,” which unfolds a King Buffalo-y psychedelic blues vibe until a more severe riff leads at 2:42 to harsher growling in post-hardcore fashion — actually, the voice reminds me of Elegy-era Amorphis, but I’m willing to chalk that up to sonic coincidence — gradually working in clean and harsh layers effectively to carry Sleeping Giant to a genuinely unexpected crescendo, leaving “Visions III” to pick up immediately from there, which it does by shifting into another engaging nod-roll as a bed for a return of sung vocals and the gradual build of a melodic wash of tone, which acts not so much as an epilogue to the prior part’s payoff, but as a different stage of the same idea — in that way, “Visions” is all the more well executed as a whole. And it’s in that last three-parter that Sleeping Giant most show the potential in their sound for bringing a range of styles together under a fuzzy banner and crafting an identity of their own from them. After six years and a name change leading to this debut, I won’t speculate on where they might go from here or when they might get there, but the obvious care they put into the writing and honing and construction of this material shows through one way or another in each track, which is no less than they deserve.

Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Giant (2019)

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Review & EP Stream: Lowburn, Sleeping Giant

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lowburn sleeping giant

[Click play above to stream Lowburn’s Sleeping Giant EP in full. It’s out Feb. 2 on Argonauta Records.]

With four tracks and four distinct takes between them, Lowburn‘s Sleeping Giant is an EP in the truest sense of the form. It is a formidable sampling of range within the sphere of heavy rock — especially for an outing half the duration of its predecessor — and even for those who experienced the Finnish four-piece’s 2015 full-length debut, Doomsayer, or any of their prior, shorter releases, it should make an impression with its efficiency and level of songcraft alike.

Delivering once again through Argonauta Records, the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Tomi Mykkänen (also Battlelore), guitarist Tommi Lintunen, bassist Miika Kokkola and drummer Henkka Vahvanen find their niche right on either side of the dividing line between heavy rock and more aggressive metal, and where a song like “Do Mi Ti” from the long-player had its element of grunge-style melody, even the melancholy closer here “Lost Control,” seems to have grown outward melodically from this impulse.

That’s an encouraging sign on a performance level, but what really distinguishes Sleeping Giant from Doomsayer or Lowburn‘s previous 2014 split with Church of Void or 2013 debut EP, Soaring High, is in the efficiency of the band’s work in executing the material. Whether it’s the forward charge of opener “All Life Long” or the more rolling groove of the subsequent “The Power it Holds” and “Sleeping Giant” itself — which, rest assured, awakes before it’s done — Lowburn do not spare a moment on Sleeping Giant, and they sound all the more assured coming off their debut of the kind of band they want to be and how they want to get where they’re going in terms of sound.

Interestingly, in doing so on Sleeping Giant, they start at more or less at the beginning. While there’s no question “All Life Long” gives Sleeping Giant a somewhat ironic launch with its full-boar energetic take, all-out from the drum lead-in through the sped-up Kyuss-style riffing that propels it through its four minutes to the burly delivery of Mykkänen, slowing only to catch its breath in the midsection before resuming its rush at the ending payoff. I’m not sure it’s the same recorded version — it’s close if not — but the song originates in 2013 and was initially released as a digital single around the time of Soaring High. Whether redone or not, the form is essentially the same, and it makes a somewhat sneakily appropriate lead-in for the three tracks that follow and expand the dynamic of the release overall.

lowburn

Lead guitar shines throughout “The Power it Holds,” which has plenty of room for soloing as it nears a seven-minute runtime, but it’s the slower, rolling groove that most stands the song out, and a better balance in the mix between the vocals and surrounding instruments that makes the tones sound larger and adds depth on the whole. Give the origin story of “All Life Long,” I’ll note that I don’t know when “The Power it Holds,” “Sleeping Giant” or closer “Lost Control” were recorded — they could well be from the same session; universe of infinite possibilities and all that — but in context they sound newer, more developed stylistically, and speak to that level of assuredness one can sense in Lowburn post-Doomsayer.

“Sleeping Giant” pushes this notion even further with a more immersive nod and a willingness to ride its groove that departs even further from “All Life Long” at the outset. Patience? Yeah, patience. It wasn’t entirely absent from Lowburn on Doomsayer by any means, but it serves the title-track particularly well and shifts smoothly into the low-key harmonies of “Lost Control” in a way that gives even this sampling-of-wares-style short release a sense of full-album flow.

Likewise, the closer’s subdued beginning feels very much like a mirror held up to the initial push of “All Life Long,” and in that draws attention once more to the growth undertaken on the part of Lowburn — not just to where they can write effective trades between verses and choruses without unneeded flourish or structural variance, but to where their material has evolved in range while holding onto that sense of purpose and drive regardless of the actual tempo in which they’re working. What their plans might be after this relatively quick offering, I don’t know, but the message comes through clearly in these tracks that while on the surface Lowburn‘s attack can seem at times to be more about boozy burl and dudely riffing that willful creative progression, there’s obviously plenty of both at play in their sound.

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Lowburn website

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Argonauta Records website

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