Austrian quartet Honeygiant, Fabio Menches (bass); Christian Reitmann (guitar); Wolfgang "Wolli" Steinbach (vocals, guitar) and Lukas Ulrich (drums), have been doing their thing for around three years now but don't feel bad if this review is the first you've heard of the band because apart from "Mortar", a 2019 one track release, there has not been a lot for those outside of their Austrian homeland to latch their ears on to. That state of affairs changes with the release of the bands self-titled debut album "Honeygiant" (Independant Audio Management) a stunning collection of melodic heaviness that the band describe as being a perfect fit for fans of Red Fang, Witchcraft and Elder.
Red Fang, Witchcraft and Elder are not the bands that first come to mind when the intro to first track "Division" trickles gently out of the speakers, and it is still not the case even when the song erupts into a pre-verse doomic guitar refrain, especially when that verse is delivered in clean melodic tones over a laid back and jazzy groove that probably owes more to Steely Dan than it does any of those other bands mentioned, that said when Honeygiant do break out the big riffs, gritty up those vocals and push those rhythms hard they do make a mightily impressive gnarly noise. "Remain Where You Were Found" follows and musically is a much more gnarled and grimy affair than its predecessor, guitar tones here are dialled to nasty and the rhythms are big and thunderous while its vocals shift from a clean croon to a passionate throaty howl. Touches of spacious heavy psych make their presence felt on "Far Beyond" while things get a little raucous and raw on the garage like and punky "Phantom Hammer", both songs highly enjoyable outings with the former just shading it in the enjoyment stakes thanks to its soaring and emotive guitar solo. "What The Blind Eye Sees" twins choppy chord progressions with searing solos over a fractured but funky backing groove decorated in a vocal that shifts from laid back and jazzy to lilting and mournful. "Sisyphus" finds things getting lyrically reflective over a groove that sways back and forth between doomic and progressive and gets more intense and dark as it stretches towards its final note. Last song "Electric Ghost" mixes sections of post-metal tinted prog with passages of off-kilter spasmodic funkishness to create a constantly shifting dynamic that throws up surprises at every turn, a wonderfully schizophrenic ending to what is a wonderfully schizophrenic (in a good way) album.
Honeygiant may be new to us that live outside of Austria, and probably to some inside Austria, but if they continue to make albums of the quality of this their debut then it will not be long before they start to attract attention not just from the fans of the bands they mention but from fans of good rock music in general, these guys have the potential to be a big deal within this scene we call the "underground" they just need a few more people listening to what they are offering.
Check 'em out ....
© 2023 Frazer Jones