Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Album Review: “Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1” by Howling Giant

According to legend, in early March of 1951 Ike Turner’s guitarist Willie Kizart was driving to Memphis, Tennessee for a recording session when his amplifier tumbled from atop his car and bounced down Highway 61.  

A makeshift attempt to repair the amplifier by cramming it full of newspapers rendered it operational, except it now produced a fuzzy distorted sound.  The song recorded that day “Rocket 88” found its way to the top of the charts and is often credited as being the first rock-n-roll song.  

Clearly, the world wanted the fuzz then, and has never stopped doing so. 

The sound accidentally discovered by Kizart has since been captured, refined and controlled by amplifier manufacturers. Wise is the band who has chosen to harness this almighty power.

Howling Giant brings the fuzz and so much more on their second album “Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1”.  It is one down-tuned crunchy stoner metal riff after another, in a style closely resembling genre legends The Sword and Witchcraft.  

Only instead of focusing their attention of themes of paganism, this concept EP takes to the stars, telling a science fiction inspired tale of mankind abandoning Earth to avoid a celestial wizard.
Howling Giant
Breaking free of the traditional sounds of their native Nashville, Howling Giant has created a monolithic wall of fuzzy cosmic sound which alternates between epic doom and energetic riffs.  

Even though only twenty one minutes in length, the album has managed to survive in rotation on my car stereo for a week straight (the only exception being a Sunday drive to the tunes of LA Guns). 

It is the epic tone and craftsmanship of this album which has led to repeated listens.

Happily, this is only part one of a planned ‘Black Hole Space Wizard’ trilogy.  If Howling Giant has more of these monster riffs in the hopper I look forward to hearing them.
There is a music store located on Highway 61 in Arnold, Missouri, where I bought my first guitar amplifier. Although I always turned the gain to 10 on that little Crate amp, the geographic significance of the shop where I bought it never occurred to me before writing this review.  

Although much further north than Memphis, it is still the same highway where a poorly secured amplifier derailed Kizart's drive and birthed the fuzz.

Now, 65 years later, a grateful nation turns its ears towards Howling Giant in thanks for keeping it alive and well.
Release: August 12, 2016
Genre: Stoner Metal/ Fuzz Metal/ Doom Metal
Label: Self Released


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