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King Giant - "Dismal Hollow" (CD)

King Giant - "Dismal Hollow" CD cover image

"Dismal Hollow" track listing:

1. Appomattox
2. Tale Of Mathias
3. A Steward's Prayer
4. Pistols And Penance
5. 6 O'Clock Swill
6. The Fog
7. Road To Eleusis
8. O' Drifter

Reviewed by on January 22, 2012

"King Giant's 'Dismal Hollow' is an excellent blend of Sabbath and Deep South sounds."

What if instead of hailing from the industrial brimstone of Birmingham, England, Black Sabbath had risen from the backwoods of Appalachia? Odds are, I think, that the result would sound quite a lot like King Giant's "Dismal Hollow," a doomy, southern-fried affair that features plenty of adept guitar work, some unique time changes and surprisingly engaging lyrics that touch on uniquely Deep South themes.

Take, for example, the opener, "Appomattox," named for the site of the Confederacy's surrender at the end of the American Civil War. Note how Dave Hammerly's drawling growl (slightly reminiscent of Glenn Danzig) fits in perfectly with drummer Brooks' martial-sounding part and the expert guitar work of T.I. and David Kowalski.

Like a lot of southern music, there's more of an emphasis on groove here than in most metal. The main riff of "Steward's Prayer" is almost a battle between two genres, with a bluesy portion giving way to doom thunder. Another tune, "6 O'Clock Swill," features headbanging guitars, mixed with a hip-shaking drum line to superb effect.

The band's quieter moments also deserve mention, with some gorgeous acoustic guitar work (joined by an elegaic cello at the end) in "Pistols And Penance." An instrumental, "Road To Eleusis," runs the gamut mood-wise, with gentle guitars in the beginning, giving way to some superb electric soloing.

There aren't too many negatives to be had here. Even the slightly lesser tunes — "Tale Of Mathias" and "O' Drifter" — have plenty of engaging moments. It might've been nice to hear just a tad more of Floyd Walters' bass in the mix, but that's not really a major concern.

King Giant's "Dismal Hollow" is an excellent blend of Sabbath and Deep South sounds. Groovier than most doom metal, but still coming from a deep, dark place, it's well worth listening to.

Highs: "Appomattox," "Pistols And Penance" and "Road To Eleusis"

Lows: None to speak of, though just a tad more bass in the mix might've been nice.

Bottom line: Excellent doomy metal with a southern groove.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)