|Red Giant - 'Dysfunctional Majesty' (Small Stone Recordings)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Thursday, 09 December 2010 05:00|
Hey, hey, hey...it's the return of the jolly Red Giant. This is my second attempt at reviewing 'Dysfunctional Majesty' the first attempt ended in disaster as I sat through an album of instrumental tracks that left me feeling like something was missing. It didn't sound like an instrumental album to me. It sounded like an album of backing tracks. At least my ears weren't letting me down because that's exactly what it was. Bizarrely I'd received a karaoke version of the album. But without lyric sheet and no idea of the song melodies I was left crying into my sake. Step forward vocalist and guitarist Alex Perekrest to fill in the blanks.
Not surprisingly this time around is a far more satisfying experience. Alex's voice is punchy, raunchy and gritty. Although Red Giant are described as Stoner Rock this sets them apart straight away from say Queens Of The Stone Age and puts them more in the Raging Slab / Danko Jones bracket.
The cover artwork of 'Dysfunctional Majesty' is a twisted homage to Kiss' Destroyer album. Whilst not at all similar to Kiss musically there is buried deep within opening track 'Chopper' a kind of Kiss' signature riff but you'd have to be observant to notice it so fleeting it is.
'Never Touch The Lens' runs through the gears of double time, half time - half that again, double bass pedals with dual layered Di'Anno-era Maiden guitar riffage - a melding of drop-tuned Stoner Rock with NWOBH riffs. The vocals may appear a little low on this one but it's clear that this song belongs to the riff and to the mosh pit.
'Easy, Killer' manages to get under my skin with a highly contagious groove. It's based on a standard blues shuffle but the band manage to infuse it with a growling monster groove that otherwise would have me hating this track. Unusually for a twin guitar band the wah solo is not backed up by the second guitar so evoking a classic 3-piece no-overdubs type feel. 'Season Of The Bitch' however isn't a good choice to follow 'Easy, Killer'. It's a bit too similar in groove and tempo and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for 'Easy, Killer' part II.
'Million Point Buck' is another groovy infectious song containing some nice chordal work reminiscent of King's X, Sabbath and Soundgarden. Vocally though it couldn't be further away. Try something rawer. Try pre-Patton Faith No More or perhaps even The Rollins Band. The band move back into early punky Iron Maiden territory for 'Silver Shirley' clearly relishing the freedom of the seven minute track to riff out - three minute pop songs these are not.
And with half an hour and half of the album behind us Red Giant are clearly in the groove and they're not about to get out of it. The second half is as good as the first but it's the sheer length of the album that does me in and Red Giant give no quarter. The riffs keep on a-coming. The band are a steamroller and I feel like the tarmac - a pliant sticky black goo. I tell you one thing. You couldn't listen to this in a traffic jam and not go all Michael Douglas on someone's ass.
Even so there are highlights to the second half. 'These Satisfactions Are Permanent' has a slightly different dynamic to it. There's a bit more space, a bit more vocal and a bit less fuzz. It has a spring in its step. And talking of steps 'Lamentations' has me imagining this track on 'Strictly Come Dancing' - perhaps with Bruce Forsyth himself taking to the floor. Trust me. It would work. Completely out of context and twisted yeah - that's what would make this great.
And finally I get the instrumental I've been waiting for all along in the shape of 'Weird Problems'. It's like Christmas come early. And, expecting a second instrumental in the form of 'Super Secret Bonus Jam', I'm sorely mistaken. It is not at all what it says on the tin. It is in fact a cover but as it's super secret I don't know whether to let you know what it is. Let me mull it over. I'll get back to you...