Album Review :
Animal Giant - The Glory EP

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Band: Animal Giant
Album: The Glory EP (BandCamp)
Label: None
Release: 4.25.13
Reviewer: Brody

  1. Glory
  2. Dim the Lights
  3. Space & Time
  4. Daggers
  5. War in Me

When I hear of a side project coming from a musician who spends the majority of their time in another band, I usually can not help but think the side project will suffer in all areas save for what the musician does in his band. For instance, when I first heard of The Almost, I assumed everything would be lacking except for the vocals and drumming. While Aaron Gillespie did have some help instrumentally on the record, he did the bulk of the instruments with good results.

Animal Giant, the moniker Inhale Exhale’s guitarist, John LaRussa has chosen for himself, evoked similar feelings of fear from me. While LaRussa is a often praised for his skills on six strings, I was a bit worried about how he would fare on all the other essentials, including the ever so important vocals.

There is no need to fear however, LaRussa shows he is not only capable, but proficient at everything I was seemingly concerned about before hearing the record. Better yet, not every song sounds like an Inhale Exhale B-side, but stands on their own legs (That’s not to say that songs don’t occasionally share similarities with IE).

Glory starts off with menacing chugging mixed with discords to create a thick and sludgy atmosphere. This fades into the background into mind-numbing noodling during the pre chorus, where technicality is the forefront. LaRussa showcases his vocals as well as he hauntingly growls, “You’ll amount to nothing!”.

Dim the Lights sounds the most like what Inhale Exhale fans will be used to hearing from LaRussa. Musically the song has a blistering pace backed by punk sounding drums and guitar riffing that could find a home on a new Living Sacrifice track. The song takes many twists and turns without straying too far from its’ core sound. The bride featuring rough shouts of “Hey!” brought to my mind Nordic lore due to the sheer manliness.

While there is not a lot of down time on the record, Space & Time gives the listener some breathing room with a brief melodic intro that focuses mostly on spacey guitars than anything distorted. This is short lived however as LaRussa soon dives headfirst back into trash influenced metal. This song felt like it had the most time to develop and really flow naturally.

Daggers is my personal favorite on the album, a true thrash influenced jem. The into is a head spinning conglomeration of double bass and tremolo picking riffage that will have even the most conservative folks headbanging in their cars. The verses of the song slow down a bit into a more brooding feel with more subtle emphasis on the lead guitar mixed in it all. The drums on this track really stand out to me as being not only solid, but above average, really being able to keep time and not feel awkward at any point. The only real downside to this track is that it seems to end really abruptly. I felt that there could have been a bit more of an outro to wrap things up instead of plunging into the next track.

War in Me provides stand out drums that are incredibly intricate and technical. Fills abound along with impressive machine gun double bass. The guitars bring to mind Living Sacrifice again, hailing back to the thrash metal glory days. Interesting chord progressions and leads that are sure to impress even the most smug of music experts abound in this track making it incredibly memorable and one of the best on the EP. LaRussa also displays a decent vocal range in War in Me going from more medium scaled vocals (what he uses the majority of the time) to low registering growls.

Overall: LaRussa proves that not only can he function in a group of musicians, but he is more than capable all by his lonesome of creating something worthwhile. The only real beef I had with the album was the lack of more songs like War in Me where John experiments with his vocal range. I understand it’s much easier said than done, but I think the record would come across as more professional and memorable with more of an emphasis on vocals. With that being said though, “The Glory EP” is quite a feat, scaling a few different sub-genres of metal and showcasing exactly how talented Mr. John LaRussa truly is.

RIYL: Living Sacrifice | Inhale Exhale | Becoming the Archetype | Narcissus