The quote ‘When the riff is so sick, you want to give it healthcare’ comes from an image with Bernie Sanders that I posted talking about Steel and Stone Fest I attended earlier this month. Now that I think about it, Howling Giant played that same fest a few years back. Funny how that works because this same quote is perfect for their new album Glass Future.
I fully expected to be blown out of my seat the moment Hourglass started knowing how powerful Howling Giant can be. But, the short thirty-second opener is a swirling drone intro with narration of how ‘there is time enough at last’, which may seem positive but definitely has a haunting vibe.
Excuse me a second while I get up and fix my chair. Siren Song just began, and the trio let it all go. It’s a few moments of intensity as the band settles into a head banging groove. Tom Palzone‘s soaring vocals enter like a brush painting a vast fantastical world. The fractured cityscape skyline broken by morning light described in Siren Song is painted perfectly. There is an urgency for the main character to get up and continue his journey felt in the fast paced music.
Each song tells its own story on this album, but I like to think they are all connected in one vast world Howling Giant have created. And with each unique story comes a unique twist to the music. Aluminum Crown slows things down and introduces some organ by guest musician Drew David Harakal II. Zach Wheelers take on a jungle beat fuses effortlessly with Sebastian Baltes bass riffs.
Switching gears again, Hawk In A Hurricane begins with a grand riff that has similar vibes to Rock You Like A Hurricane and I’m thinking that was intentional. Never thought I’d bring up Scorpions in a review but leave it to Howling Giant to make that happen. I’m not a fan of that type of 80s music but if that is what inspired the track to some extent, then I’m glad it exists because Howling Giant did an epic job.
After a whirlwind start, the band decide to toss in a three-minute fast paced instrumental with spoken word narration similar to Hourglass. The steady rhythm of Wheeler and Seabass keep the pace as Palzone weaves between epic lead and chugging riffs. First Blood Of Melchor proves that Howling Giant can create a killer track while leaving out their signature ‘honey-rich and wisdom-worn vocal attack’.
This is more than just a killer album, it’s a complete work of art…
However, that returns quickly in the title track, Glass Future, as it maintains momentum and the vocals continue to explore the fantasy world the band are unveiling with each new story. It tells the tale of a Holy War and the song sends us off with a soulful solo that lands on a note extending to infinity.
My favorite riff of the album opens Tempest And The Liars Gateway. The tone is amazing, but it might also be the fact that it’s slow enough for me to attempt to play. ‘…Beyond the tree line, behold the temple, ivy piercing through its veil, death waits…’, the lyrics are like reading some of my treasured books as the band combines my love of heavy metal and fantasy novels.
Howling Giant take us on a journey underwater with Sunken City as the listener ride the constant waves of riffs to explore the depths of the ocean. The band picks things up with this and following number Juggernaut building up to the conclusion. Each song matches an aggressive style which you expect will close in a similar fashion, but this is Howling Giant and you can’t assume anything.
Wrapping things up neatly, the slow intro of Theres Time Now begins. Hourglass talks about having enough time and the album ends with the idea the time is now! While the song never reaches the full capabilities of songs like Siren Song or Juggernaut, the crescendo is strong and builds anticipation of an ending world. Emotion is packed into this track and the heaviness of a dying world can be felt.
The PR notes state, ‘Glass Future downright asks to inspire a book or graphic novel…’ and I couldn’t agree more. This is more than just a killer album, it’s a complete work of art and launching the band to new levels in their career. I can’t wait to hear what they do next!
Scribed by: Josh Schneider