The Facebook page for GIANTS OF GENESIS states “We want to create music that moves us as well as others.” This is quite an apropos mission statement for their debut Weight Of The World, which they self-released earlier in the year. Musically, GIANTS OF GENESIS straddles a nexus of different styles of music, with metal styles predominating, but enough influences from other areas to avoid being pigeonholed into any one particular style. The closest fit is progressive metal, and the melodic noodling riffs and technical flourishes along with vocalist Joe Sharpe’s predominantly clean, soulful vocals bear this out. Speaking of whom, Sharpe has a powerful set of pipes on him, and uses them to create clear, gripping hooks juxtaposed with harsher yells and screams. The interplay between the vocal styles calls to mind SCAR SYMMETRY and the like.
Throughout the album, the progressive elements are strongly underpinned by drummer Tyler Bristow, who eschews stock metal rhythms for his own unique propulsive and fluid style. It is quite clear that GIANTS (presumably named for their deep love of New York football) made a conscious element to merge together as many disparate styles as possible on Weight, and it works well for the most part. Moments like the punishing breakdown in “My Dark Passenger” are unexpected and hit all the harder for it. However, there is a major problem with the songs on the album, which can be summed up succinctly by saying they all try to do too much. Most of the songs on the album would be hard to describe to someone who has never heard it before.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is to say that each song tries to incorporate as many elements of the band’s sound as possible. Clean vocals, harsh vocals, melodic riffs, palm-mutes, all can be found in the majority of the record. With that being said, this does have the effect of making the individual songs extremely memorable and strong. However, opener “Empty Silhouettes” doesn’t do much for me, as it lacks the powerful choruses of nearly every other song on the disc, but that initial misstep is quickly wiped away by the total kick in the teeth that is “Fractured”. This killer song owns a range of emotions from quiet to loud moments and has a chorus that will be stuck in your head for months.
Each subsequent track is packed with memorable hooks and melodies, but special attention must be paid to two songs in particular. “The Closing Wounds” finds GIANTS stretching their prog chops even more by going for an instrumental; the short, concise songwriting and great playing make this one equally as strong as the other tracks, and it does make for a welcome change of pace. Lyrically, the songs follow tales of personal trauma, struggle, and triumph. Themes that would seem clichéd by other bands are given life by Sharpe’s utterly sincere performance, coming no doubt from experiences tied to the lyrics, and by deft songwriting that never dwells too far on a single motif and carries the listeners’ emotions along for the ride.
GIANTS OF GENESIS clearly know how to write an evocative and memorable song, but the standout track for me for sure is “While You Sleep.” This song opens with an acoustic intro over which Sharpe croons with that eastern-Maryland twang in his voice, before barreling into a techy riff and a fist-pumping sing-along chorus that could fill an arena. The self-produced backing vocals come off a little poorly in the opening and closing tracks, but “While You Sleep” is the real deal and easily the most must-hear song on the album. It’s no coincidence that it’s the most dynamic track as well. And the production is actually better than a lot of professional jobs of signed acts..
GIANTS OF GENESIS are still finding their way, but so far they’ve given us a slate of excellent songs and have only just begun their journey as a band. With the addition of classically-trained multi-instrumentalist Paul Campbell on bass after the album was released, the future holds nothing but promise, as Weight Of The World portends the kind of pressure that eventually makes diamonds.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Fractured”, “My Dark Passenger”, “Missing Pieces”, “While You Sleep”, “The Last Sanctuary”