Howling Giant is a weird band, and weird by definition makes it difficult to try and break down all of the genre-bending experimentation taking place in this Tennessee outfit. With that being said, they’re certainly an exciting band breathing fresh air into a genre that often becomes placid with easily repetitive tropes.
The Space Between Worlds is technically Howling Giant’s first full-length album, and it is taking a few steps away from the Black Hole Space Wizard series of EPs which came out in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Black Hole Space Wizard albums explored dreamy, psych tones through a ton of fuzz, but the delivery on those albums was consistently harder than what you’ll get this time.
The Space Between Worlds retains enough metal around the edges to be within the framework of their launching point, but it takes the ambient, psychedelic rock portions of their style to ambitious new heights. Lyrically they’re still weaving interesting narratives between a thick wall of sludge-lite riffs, but the vocals are a bit more upbeat this time around, and the band has found some adjacency with pop-rock.
Howling Giant’s strength really shines out when Tom Polzine blends a depositary of solemn, stoner riffs with his echoing wave of soft, vocal hymns. Even if his singing just isn’t for you, it’s hard to argue against the arsenal of doomer arcs that bend around his ethereal voice if you’re a stoner or doom metal fan.
Look to “The Orb” for an excellent example. There’s the contrast of consummate clean singing vs. filthy freakin’ heavy chords with melodic keys in the background supporting Polzine’s clear approach in this freight train of atmospheric sludge speeding away.
Though most of the music is uptempo, they have some slower transitions throughout The Space Between Worlds that will have you bobbing your head to a mire. The acoustic track “Ghosts In The Well” stands out among the shuffle. The short epistle unravels Howling Giant’s connection to nature in a dignified way
Hats off to Howling Giant for once again doing something different. It took me a few listens for The Space Between Worlds to stick, but based on their earlier work, they deserved a few chances. The quality and passion behind this three-piece ensemble should hopefully remain a part of stoner metal and every other genre bending pit stop in between for years.
Favorite tracks: “The Orb”, “Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express”