Howling Giants - Black Hole Space Wizard Pt. 1Stoner metal, moreso than other metal subgenres, stands and falls with the power of The Riff. Crushing, churning, buzzing like a particularly eloquent chainsaw, The Riff can lift a band out of stoner mediocrity and into the realms of the Gods. But a limp and forgetful riff will ensure the music passes through your head like a breath of wind through torn sails. Howling Giant play stoner metal. Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1 is only their second four song EP, so they haven’t been around for very long yet. So do these Nashville greenhorns possess the power of The Riff?

The opener leaves little room for doubt. “Mothership” is carried on a larger than life riff plowing out of a particularly loud and fuzzy guitar. The lead carrying the song is an infectious second cousin to “The Wolfman Kindly Requests” by masters of the art Clutch. The production succeeds in creating a full, crushing sound. The guitar hits like a train and coupled with the more ethereal vocals the result rests comfortably somewhere between Electric Wizard and The Sword. The heavy distortion makes it difficult to properly appreciate a spacey master though, and the mix is not always spot-on; placing the guitars so high in the mix on “Mothership” that it drowns out some of the vocals and drums. The vocals have an edge of stylistic distortion in the higher frequencies, but it makes me wish they didn’t; the result is a bit unpleasant and a clean vocal track would have sounded better in counterweight to the instrumental fuzz.

Howling Giant 2016

All-in-all, Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1 is a solid EP from such a young band. They’ve already begun to carve out their own identity and they clearly have some good ideas. There will be at least two more Black Hole Space Wizard EP’s, so we have something of an episodic album to look forward to, which is fitting in the age of similarly portioned video games and cinematic universes. If they can keep up the level of quality on display here, this might just prove the beginning of a future force in fuzzy stoner rock.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: howlinggiant.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/howlinggiant
Releases Worldwide: August 12th, 2016

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  • Alexandre Barata

    Thank you noob (AMG wording, not mine) for this review. The embedded songs actually quite nice, although I would prefer a bit more punch, but I’m a punchy guy. Gotta check the rest of the album, but from that song it seems really quite nice.

    • GardensTale

      Thanks! Yeah these guys do groove a bit more than punch, although I think you’ll find something to like in Dirtmouth.

  • I am sure many will disagree, but my issue with “stoner metal” or whatever name it’s called today, started and ended with one band. Kyuss. Sadly for everyone who followed, Kyuss nailed the formula the very first time and everything that has followed since has been in “Degrees of Kyuss”. Sure, some have come close, but never matched and thats why bands like this rarely interest me.

    • I’m more of a Truckfighter.

    • By-tor

      While Kyuss is indeed what got me started on stoner rock/metal, I think there are quite a few other acts that have put out equally great material. Clutch (especially the early stuff), The Sword, ASG, Ufomammut, and Electric Wizard are all still actively putting out new music. Not to mention those that are currently taking an extended hit from the bong like Sleep and OM. Don’t get me wrong, Kyuss is still on the Mt. “Smokes”more, but saying all stoner bands that followed is like saying every metal band is basically a Sabbath knock off.

      The trouble with Kyuss is nostalgia. They had a great run, but the groups they handed the baton to are up to the task.

      • GardensTale

        Clutch especially, they are absolute masters of infectious groovy riffs. Who can forget the funky bounce of Soapmakers? And Fallon has a great voice and writes absolute poetry for lyrics.

        I’m a bit of a fan as you can see.

  • Robert Turnbull

    This sounds pretty good. Nice review too, Gardenstale

  • GardensTale

    Hey it’s my first review! Thanks for posting it AMG, may many follow.

    • Don’t get full of yourself! You’re on double secret probation.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Aka prepare for metalcore.

        • It’s like you can read my mind. We should get you on the payroll.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            As a drill sergeant? Hopefully not as a writer – I just had to look up the word sergeant to make sure I spelled it right.

            What kind of benefits are we talking about here?

          • All the metalcore you can eat and a discounted Jorn t-shirt.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            I’ll do it for Jørn! And hey, at least I don’t have to listen to all the seemingly endless (in both number and length!) scooby doom releases you keep droning on about!

            Edit: Exclamation mark!!!

          • That’s the spirit (except for your perplexing dislike of quality doom).

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Blame my ADD. The perpetually underappreciated Landforge is quality doom, not a woman singing about some bell over the same riffs for the 500th time. ;)

          • I do love me some Landforge!

        • GardensTale

          Writing insulting metaphors for horrid music is one of the greatest joys for a reviewer.

      • GardensTale

        LET ME HAVE MY HAPPINESS

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Welcome aboard, Stale.

      Your handle is rather unfortunate.

      • GardensTale

        It’s like you never even heard Volbeat’s second album

        • André Snyde Lopes

          I’m just not sure pokémon music is my thing.

          • Fuzzybunny

            Blasphemy! OK it is a sad vice. But I do like the stuff, Thor forgive me.

    • Eli Valcik

      Welcome, prepare to spend lots of money on bands you have never heard of before

      • Eli Valcik

        great review

  • Eli Valcik

    I will listen to anything that resembles The Sword

  • Sergey

    decent release

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That “breath of wind through torn sails” line you wrote is pure poetry!