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Giant Squid may sound like the title of a bad B-rated horror flick or a Gwar-like costumed cacophony instead of a breathtakingly dynamic underground rock sensation, yet there's enough murky undertones and grim in their groove to illicit the bestial moniker. Conjuring up a stoner rock stew of epic proportions, this Northern California unit that now calls Austin, TX home after a few major lineup shakeups get top marks for creating a dazzling display of dizzyingly dramatic atmosphere (and for re-enlisting producer Billy Anderson to engineer the mayhem) on their re-recorded affair METRIDIUM FIELDS. While Giant Squid's doom-laden guitars are mammoth, they don't crush the cranium as much as they chip ever so slowly, almost as if the axes and accompanying instrumental bliss alike was performed with Novocain needles rather than sticks and picks. These songs may play long but never get dull, revealing intriguingly ornate tapestries woven by a twin guitar attack that understands the art of restraint, masterfully moody male-female vocal tradeoffs, and a artisan's rhythm section that can dually jazz it out or rip it up a la Opeth. Chock full of simple yet effective percussion and a never overbearing organ which holds each sprawling beat with the utmost care, tracks like "Metridium Field", "Neonate", and Ampullae of Lorenzini" combine spooky savagery and haunting melodies to eerily engage the darker side of your brain.
- Mike SOS