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Giant Squid - Metridium Fields

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by circus_brimstone, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Giant Squid – Metridium Fields
    The End Records – TE076 – August 22nd, 2006
    By Jason Jordan

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    If anything The End’s roster is more eccentric than it’s ever been, evidenced by the label’s acquisitions of Estradasphere, Sigh, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Stolen Babies, and Unexpect. And that’s the reason that Texas’s Giant Squid seem kind of, well, normal by comparison, which isn’t a bad thing. As a matter of fact, The End caught wind of this five-piece band – included therein is a husband and wife team – when they self-released the Billy Anderson-produced Metridium Field, and this is a re-recording with all the same people in place. It may not be The End’s finest hour this year since Agalloch (Ashes Against the Grain) and Unexpect (In a Flesh Aquarium) present tough competition, but the latest incarnation of this whimsical, avant-garde rock album is an impressive debut and one of the better efforts of 2006 at the same time.

    First, Metridium Fields lasts a full hour. Second, though they are strange, incorporate a lot of different instruments, and arrange songs with little regard for standard practices, Giant Squid aren’t pretentious in the least – let’s get that misconception out of the way right now. The introduction “Megaptera in the Delta” leads into their first single “Neonate,” so if you’ve heard only one of their songs, chances are it was the former. Admittedly, it’s easy to get the wrong impression of the full-length from such a short, straightforward track. “Neonate” is a great tune, however, and the vocals will spark comparisons to System of a Down’s Serj Tankian despite the instrumental variation. The production is excellent, and the keyboards add a tremendous amount of worth to an already substantial group.

    “Versus the Siren” sees the quintet settle into a laidback position that is both less tense yet no less rewarding than their more upbeat tunes. Boasting female vocals, organ, and soft brass, “Versus the Siren” parallels much of what we’ve heard in the past from maudlin of the Well (n.k.a. Kayo Dot), although the last half is heavier, more proactive, and features stellar synth effects. A fellow, nine-minute composition is follower “Ampullae of Lorenzini” – essentially a dirge that is chock full of despair with a grand, seismic ending. “Summit” echoes the six and a half minute “Neonate” in the length department, but is primarily a vocal-centric track that eventually employs Mouth of the Architect-esque instrumentation though elevates the dejected mood that saturates a large portion of MotA’s material. “Revolution in the Water” is arguably the heaviest track on Metridium Fields, relaying a sense of urgency and contemplation through meditative music and harsh screams.

    The indisputable, ahem, giant is the last installment: “Metridium Field.” Totaling over 21 minutes, said track is allowed to explore and wind at its own discretion, and post-rock aficionados will be awestruck by the amazing use of repetition, which works miracles without leading to boredom. The closer encapsulates certain elements of Giant Squid (emotion, variety, pace, etc.), but is again permitted to wander. Maybe that’s why it succeeds overwhelmingly. In the least it serves as a triumphant end to a stunning release from both an excellent band and label. Metridium Fields is a strong contender that will most likely be a sleeper hit, though it deserves much, much more.

    8.5/10

    UM’s Review Rating Scale

    Official Giant Squid Website
    Official The End Records Website
     
  2. BrandonS

    BrandonS Member

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    Sigh and Unexpect are awesome. :)
     
  3. Edias

    Edias Member

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    Good album and good review. I imagine I'll be listening to this CD for a while to come.
     
  4. Ellestin

    Ellestin one-click buy

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    This is close to becoming a 2006 top 3 album
     

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