Thursday, 28 February 2013

Giza - Future Ruins (album review)

artwork by Shepard Hall.
Over the border under cover of darkness and about two hours drive down the I-5 lives a band called Giza.  They're a new band, having formed just a wink under a year ago, but their sound is as ancient as the growl of the fifteen foot high bear stalking just outside the protective shelter of the caves of our ancestors.  At the same time their visions and scope are as futuristic as our post-apocalyptic descendants huddled in the cave-like remnants of a cold gray, rain-soaked office building.

'Future Ruins' is as accurate an album title as one might come across.  Minimalist tendencies throughout the disc forewarn of a coming era without hope, without a future.  This is the soundtrack of the choked off end of the thread of history.  The destructive waves unleashed by this trio do their best to hasten the cataclysm.

At ten minutes in length with minimal variation to build up the song, "Seance" becomes a study in dynamics. Chiefly constructed in droney atmospherics, chord phrasing provides the only real changes.  Ringing notes are offset by roaring chords making for powerful moments.  This is what Giza does: they let the beast roar.  They do it every chance they get.  They do it often and they do it well.  Oppressive waves of distortion and drum rolls hammer away any hope of salvation from an onslaught that has less to do with the outer world than it does the inner.

It's not until we get to "Hour of the Bullfight" some 15+ minutes in to this 30 minute disc that we get our first taste of anything that even approaches the melodic.  Up to that point the listener is content to be crunched beneath a mountain of slow and heavy rubble.  "Hour of the Bullfight" just may be one of the most dynamic songs of the bunch and has a lot to say in terms of heavy and melodic interplay.  The song evokes an imaginary past when native peoples would approach the river for a drink, the forest their only backdrop.  Flash forward to an all-but certain future (thus spoke Giza) wherein the remnants of humanity will have no hope of a clean drink in these polluted modern rivers.  The song begins as the picture of beauty amongst the heavy backdrop of the first half of the album and is eventually asphyxiated by relentless doses of sludge.

Artwork by Shepard Hall.
From the hopelessness emerges a "Great Leader" with a very battle oriented sound.  The song is characterized by a catchy drum riff on the toms and the feeling of sirens brought about by bended strings.  It's a darkly humorous look at humanity's apparent 'need' for leadership and how those who would aspire to leadership would only lead the remnants of humanity down that same dark path again, utterly stamping out humanity once and for all.

Through the somber overtone of the album, Giza tap into that rich vein of mid-winter pacific northwest nastiness.  It's never too, too cold but the dark gray, constantly drizzling skies create sun-starved feelings of isolation.  And the slums!  Gray skies above lush forests choked off violently by pitted pavement and crumbling gray buildings such as in Tacoma or Everett in Washington state, or New Westminster or Abbotsford in Canada makes for boredom, depression and frustration in measured doses.  Giza's music is obsessed by that evil spirit, the ghost of cave bears past transported to a resource depleted future where every neighbor is an enemy and every man, woman and child is somebody else's opportunity.  Actually, it doesn't sound all that 'futuristic' at all, sounds suspiciously like the world of today.  (This is that Planet of the Apes moment where the reviewer finally realizes where he has been all along.)

Highlights include: "Great Leader" and "Hour of the Bullfight"

Rating: 3.5/5

Total Run Time: 30:34

Steve Becker-Bass
Richard Burkett-Guitar
Trent McIntyre-Drums

From: Seattle, Washington

Genre: Drone, Sludge, Instrumental

Reminds me of: Cable comics, X-Men: Days of Future Past storyline, Nonsun

Release Date: December 12, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Beware.

Better Reviews:
Temple of Perdition
Born Again Nihilist
Ech(((o)))es And Dust
The Obelisk

Giza Stereokiller site
Giza facebook
Giza twitter
Giza on Encyclopedia Metallum

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