Giants, Dwarfs and Black Holes – Everwill Review

Look, I’m gonna keep this fairly brief and there is a simple reason for this: I picked up the debut from Germany’s Giants, Dwarfs and Black Holes to replace another promo that I dropped, after discovering that album was a reissue. I did no prior research on GDaBH, simply grabbing the first free thing with a similar release date and only later discovered THIS IS ALSO A FUCKING REISSUE!1 By the point I realized this, however, I’d already done my time with Everwill and, if I have to go through that for you all, the least you can do in return is read my abridged musings on it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a band that has a name describing the various states of collapsing stars and whose rather pretty album cover features a flying mushroom morphing into an owl, GDaBH plays a brand of heavy psych, stoner rock, drawing on all the influences you might expect while doing so, ranging from the likes of genre greats Hawkwind and All Them Witches to stoner legends Kyuss. The opening melodies of the first track, “Blood Moon,” give off very solid hypnotic, bluesy stoner vibes, which gradually slows to a languid, smoky fug. While the meaty, fuzzed spiraling riff that guitarist Roland drops around the midway point of the next track “Frightful Pain” is as solid as anything you’ll hear in this genre, and the energetic groove of “Electric Black” is compelling. Indeed, there are a number of excellent riffs and leads scattered across Everwill‘s 43 minutes, all underpinned by thick, buzzing bass lines and solid drumming.

The obvious centerpiece to the record, and what GDaBH are doing as a whole, is songstress Luzzi, whose style ranges from sultry, jazz-crooning (beginning of “December Moon”), through fragile, almost spoken-word passages (“December Bloom”) to a harsher-edged wail (parts of “Blood Moon”). I like some of what she does and the sheer range of styles and tones that she attempts reminds me at times of a female Captain Beefheart and at others of Elysian Fields‘ Jennifer Charles. Luzzi is not, however, as strong a singer as Charles and not everything she does comes off. There are some odd rhythmic choices in some of her delivery (mid-way point of “Frightful Pain” and scattered across “In the Circle,” for example). This gives Everwill a sometimes discordant edge that doesn’t fit with the shimmering riffs and melodies cranked out by Roland. Speaking of what the rest of the band are up to, Luzzi seems sometimes ambivalent about that, going off on frolics of her own.

I don’t want this to come off as some assassination of Luzzi (though it probably will anyway), as she is clearly a capable singer — and there are some lovely moments (like the delicate vocal melody that opens and closes “Frightful Pain”) — but the overall package does not work. This, I think, is a fault of the songwriting more than anything. There simply aren’t enough ideas on Everwill to justify its 43 minutes, which are spread over only five songs. Notably, the two strongest cuts on here — “Frightful Pain” and “Electric Black” — are by some margin the shortest songs penned by GDaBH for this album, which meanders, aimlessly at times, most notably on the 15-minute closer, “In the Circle.” The production is solid enough though, with a nice guitar tone and predictably thick and fuzzed bass, even if the snare drum is a bit clipped.

For me, Everwill is a study in disappointment in two respects. The first we’ve covered: it’s a reissue that lured me in when I was looking for something to replace a re-issue I’d just dropped — sneaky! Secondly, and more importantly, there’s a great little record — probably a 25-minute EP — trapped in here, with some really good riffs and a compelling groove, which GDaBH studiously overwrote. They can all handle their instruments really well and for all my criticism of Luzzi above, she’s a solid frontwoman but Everwill has a lot of filler on it, which is troubling for a debut. Oh, look at that, we ended up not being so brief after all. What an overwriting bastard I am!2


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Interstellar Smoke Records
Websites: giantsdwarfsandblackholes.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/giantsdwarfsandblackholes
Release Dates: Physical: 01.22.2021 | Digital: 09.12.2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Having appeared as a self-released digital album in September 2020, it is now getting a vinyl release via their new label, Interstellar Smoke Records.
  2. Is it finally over?! – Dr. A.N.G.
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