Southern Darkness is downright bluesy, groove ridden and has more than a tinge of stoner heaviness that doesn’t drown the dirty riff action. King Giant’s offering intrigued me from the very pitch that landed in my inbox late one Sunday afternoon. Labeled as “…Ominous Southern Groove”, this really heightened my interest on a number of levels and resulted in my instant request to do this review.
Now, I have been let down by this ‘genre’ before , listening to something tagged as ‘Southern Rock’ and hoping for greatness (Almost always in the Down/COC mold), I hungered for a band or an album that could drag my neck forward and back with an infectious nod, this time I was more than pleased.
From the kick off, King Giant don’t down play their ‘Southern’ heritage and, though the first track, “Solace” is purely about driving home pounding drums, intense guitar and cancerously rough vocals, later tracks such as “13 to 1” even have a banjo ditty prior to beating its way back to trusted grubby guitar grooves. “Mississippi River” has a lurching drunken feeling that chugs along with its simplicity cloaked by an awesome Jim Beam soaked guitar sound that flatters your audible pallet. “Potter’s Field” is harshly corrosive, but still melodic as its grinding guitar work is interspersed with vocals that accelerate the music further into your soul, like a hypodermic drilling directly into the vein.
Initially on first listen, the music has a somewhat prevalent monotony rising to the surface in places, but the drumming combined with Dave Hammerly’s vocals help hammer the riffs deeper into your consciousness, all of this with a hint of all the heavy Southern rockers that have come before them. Simply pigeon holing this record within a genre and beating it with a stick to keep it there would not do it justice. Yes in places it sounds like a blend of Godsmack and Solace, COC meets Down, Clutch with a hint of Eyehategod and so on, but I don’t really see anything wrong in that, and they do it so damn well.
This is Southern Metal at its Finest and I cannot even name a lame song on the record! The whole thing is like a hundred runaway train carriages shredding their way towards you! [ END ]
02. Burning Regrets
03. 13 to 1
04. Potter’s Field
05. Mississippi River
06. Lady Whiskey
07. Machine Gun Mantra
10. Desert Run
11. Bonus Track – Needle and the Spoon
Running Time: 55:55
Release Date: 06.06.2009