I won’t lie. It was the names that caught my interest. But, from the opening notes ringing out in my ears I knew that this would be worth every moment.
Gary Noon – vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and mastermind behind Walking With Giants – is living every fan’s dream: to play with his heroes. What originally began as a tribute to some of his favorite bands soon became something new entirely. After getting in touch through a mutual friend, Gary had the chance to not only become friends with Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery and Alter Bridge/Creed drummer Scott Phillips, but to collaborate on a project as well. It’s no wonder the band is named Walking With Giants. But Noon is no stranger to playing with internationally acclaimed musicians, previously performing in a band called White Knuckles with Chad Szeliga of Breaking Benjamin and Robb Torres of Trapt.
Heavy, melodic, and reflective. Noon, Lowery, and Phillips have decided to tease our senses with this breakout self-titled EP, with Gary telling us “there’s more to come” in his interview with Broken Records Online. You can hear how Noon was inspired by the bands of the other two, though the songs feel more in the vein of Alter Bridge than Sevendust. Considering that I really enjoy both bands, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. And while I like heavy rock songs, it’s really the groove the guys manage to instill in their music that makes it alluring. For instance, a track like “Answers” remind me of the short-lived group Sick Speed from Rich Ward (Fozzy/Stuck Mojo), as it shares the same groove-filled sensibilities and ariose tendencies, which I greatly admire. And speaking of melodies, co-writers Noon and Lowery have really nailed it here, not only in the guitar playing, but in the vocal delivery as well. The guitars convey the melodious theme between the verses, but then step back and let the vocals and chorus really take it the rest of the way – something other aspiring bands should take into consideration. I know I’m not the only one singing along in their car.
Lyrically, as I said, this release is reflective. It revolves around the theme of a life of struggles and mistakes. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Noon writes in a very open way, allowing each track to come across emphatically to the listener. It’s as though he’s not just writing for himself, but speaking out for all of us. As the interview mentioned earlier reveals, the song “Perfect” wasn’t even written with himself in mind, but rather portrays a friend. And really, who doesn’t yearn for a picture-perfect life? We hope that, despite our trials, something wonderful awaits us after the tribulations. And that’s the thing shining through on this album. There’s a positivity in these lyrics that provides a hopeful feeling to those that listen. There’s always time to make a change for the better.
There’s no doubt that veterans Clint Lowery and Scott Phillips have taken Noon to a whole new level. Just watching the production videos, you can see how their inclusion has helped expand Gary’s musical horizon. But the core ideas, and the feeling behind them, are all Gary Noon. It’s his love of this music style that has resulted in such a phenomenal debut release, with all its guitar grooves and melodic tastiness. And it’s those features that he’ll keep in mind when he looks for touring musicians for this project, until the time when Lowery and Phillips are able to join him again for a full-length record. Walking With Giants has excited us with a marvelous start and I can’t wait to see where they’ll wind up next.