Giza plays instrumental music. And I happen to be a fan of instrumental music. But, I don’t tend to write about instrumental music much as there are a lot of writers at (((O))) that simply are a lot more qualified than I am. For Giza I am happy to make an exception though, as this band from Seattle labels themselves as an “Apocalyptic Sludge Metal band”. Anybody who knows my work as a reviewer knows that the tag “Sludge Metal” is enough to get me quite excited. And funnily enough, I’m writing this as I have 3 hours to go on the 21st of December 2012, the Day of the Apocalypse as predicted by an old Mayan calendar, so it may very well be my last review!
Giza is a 3-piece band and consists of Steve Becker on bass, Richard Burkett on guitar and Trent McIntyre on drums. Interestingly, Future Ruins is produced by Matt Bayles, who has in the past worked with bands such as Mastodon, Isis and Minus the Bear, so my expectations are set to a reasonably high level.
The first track Séance is a slow start to this album, and the comparisons with Isis are easily made. With 10 minutes it is the longest track on Future Ruins and it is a very slow song with plenty of heavy doom and sludge elements. McIntyre’s drums give this track a nice nuance as he basically plays the same rhythm throughout this track, but he varies nicely between lots of open cymbals and more closed played hi-hats.
The next track Wake & Drag almost continues with the slow rhythms and heavy sludge guitars similar as in the opening track, but it also builds up a bit more using more variations in the drums and bass lines. Then in the second half of this track the guitar plays some subtle chord variations, which make it an interesting track to listen to.
We go from the third track Interlude, which is exactly what the title says, to my favourite track on this album called Hour of the Bullfight. In this track we are treated on some great “classic” sludge metal build-ups combined with some brilliant drumming. This track feels as it continuously wants to speed up, but somehow Giza keeps a break on it by falling back to the slower parts, which the song also starts with. And then after the midway mark it slows down completely again to this great sounding slow, heavy wall of doom, whilst subtly adding tiny melodic elements.
Roaming Hordes is the shortest track on Future Ruins and is almost a mixture between psychedelic stoner-rock and heavy rocking sludge. This short track is the grooviest track on the album I can’t help but think of Kuyss and similar bands.
With the final track Great Leader, Giza returns to the slow, heavy, down-tuned sludge as we heard in the opening track, but in contrast to this opening track, drummer McIntyre builds on some brilliantly well-placed drum fills. There is a lot of suspense in this track as I keep on wondering when it will speed up, but it doesn’t. It does turn into a monstrous riffing tune towards the end, which makes it a great headbanger of a track.
I like all sorts of doom/sludge metal, but sometimes the vocals (which aren’t always the strongest element in lots of doom/sludge metal releases) can put people off. If that is the case then this heavy instrumental band is probably ideal for you.
Well, I still have 2 hours to go before this “Day of Doom” is finished, so I better treat myself on some more “Apocalyptic Sludge Metal” before the end of the world hits me.
Future Ruins will be released in January 2013, but is already available as a “name your price” digital download through here.
Posted by Sander van den Driesche