CD Review: ‘Worlds Unknown’ by Walking With Giants

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The hammer strikes down dramatically, ringing deep and continuous. A piano, alone, carries a melody to our hungry ears. Within moments, it is joined by the light caress of cymbals and overdriven guitar. All of this, resinating with orchestral strings, leaves us feeling small among its immensity, but anxious as to what awaits. And thus is the start of Walking With Giant’s third offering, but first full length effort, entitled Worlds Unknown. This January 15 release finds frontman Gary Noon, and his studio team, firing on all cylinders.

For those that haven’t been made privy to that great secret which is Walking With Giants, allow me to spill the beans. This Baltimore-based entity is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist, Gary Noon. With dreams of playing with his heroes, he reached out to Sevendust’s Clint Lowery, as well as Alter Bridge’s Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, collectively composing two breathtaking EPs, Walking With Giants and One By One. Though Phillips had scheduling conflicts and was thus unable to perform on the team’s first full length album, Sevendust’s Morgan Rose has taken up the sticks without missing a beat.

 

While Noon and company continue to provide us with a buffet of irresistibly addictive hard rock tracks, the new release is different in that A) it’s longer, and B) it’s buttressed by two halves of the title track. In between the bookends entitled “Worlds Unknown” Parts 1 and 2, we are enveloped in a series of songs that overflow with positive energy! “Broken Truth” and “Back To Life” lift the spirit in tone alone, while hard-hitting powerhouses like “Bound” and “Heavy Hand,” despite dealing with personal struggle, shine through the darkness with words of determination and perseverance. Perhaps the first track that breaks from this mold for Walking With Giants is the tune entitled “Guilty One,” in which Noon struggles with the feeling of being at fault. It takes a strong person to take responsibility for their actions, but the important thing about this song is that though he is made to feel at fault, he never admits defeat. These uplifting lyrics are one of the defining points of Walking With Giants that continue to draw me in time and time again.

By the way, in case it seems that I overlooked it, Worlds Unknown is musically phenomenal. Noon and Lowery join forces once more to construct meatier riffs, larger hooks, and more badass guitar solos than ever before. And from the sheer brutality of “Bound” to the seemingly computerized opening of “The Now,” this album stays fresh. Marshall’s basslines dig in deep and route the direction of Noon and Lowery’s assault, with Rose’s percussive accompaniment fitting in superbly alongside this ensemble. And, my word, the vocal harmonies! Walking With Giants has its own characteristic layer of voices that sail away with the melodic breeze, robust yet soothing to the ear. Worlds Unknown is a stunning new addition to Walking With Giants’ growing catalog, and, to quote “Heavy Hand,” the time has come for the world to see…

 
Watch the “Heavy Hand” music video here!
Buy Worlds Unknown*: From The Band

*Note: Buying the physical copy gets you two bonus acoustic tracks, “Another Life” and “Crashing Down.”

For more on Walking With Giants, visit:

Official Website
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CD Review: ‘Kill The Flaw’ by Sevendust

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On October 2, 2015, Atlanta alternative rock group, Sevendust, will release their 11th studio album entitled Kill The Flaw.  While I’m not long-time fan, I do remember jamming out to the album Next in my best friend’s Honda Civic following its release nearly 10 years to this day.  I also distinctly remember telling myself that I should pick up their 2010 release, Cold Day Memory, shortly after it had come out, only to fail to do so.  Somehow it just seemed appropriate, when the opportunity to check out the new album came across my plate, that I should tell everyone how awesome it is in order to make up for that previous failure.  And I assure you, it is awesome.

I can’t offer anyone a comparison to past albums, with the exception of saying that the production on Kill The Flaw is far more polished than Next, but that’s to be expected from an album that has the benefit of arriving a decade after the other.  What I can offer is the pleasure of knowing that this is not simply a collection of a few great songs in a batch of lemons.  Each track steps up the plate with the intent of knocking your expectations out of the park and not a single one strikes out.  Now, I surely have my favorites, which I’ll touch on shortly, but from the opening track, “Thank You,” until the closer, “Torched,” this quintet is relentless in its efforts.  This is my first Sevendust experience with original guitarist, Clint Lowery, in the fold.  I was already familiar with him from his work with his brother’s (Corey Lowery) band, Eye Empire, to which he contributed compositions, as well as his role as guitarist for Walking With Giants.  In fact, vocalist Lajon Witherspoon and drummer Morgan Rose contributed to the former’s debut release as well, but I’m beginning to digress.

Kill The Flaw is an alt. rock behemoth, armed with a concoction of chunking riffs, dissonance and melody, not to mention a tacklebox of hooks.  It’s difficult for me to even narrow down what to tell you about, but at this exact moment Lowery is surfing through my ear canal with the melodious-turned-explosive solo of “Forget.”  Shortly thereafter, Witherspoon’s voice cascades over that same eardrum with the opening lines of “Letters,” which is as intense as it is emotional, as powerful as it is gentle.  On the rest of the album we find piano lead-ins to bone-crunching riffs (“Cease And Desist”), acoustic steel-string goodness with a Southern twang (“Chop”), and just a few moments here and there that bring to mind Static-X, such as haunting, suddenly manifesting screams during “Peace And Destruction.”  But let’s go back to “Chop” for a moment, because this has to be my favorite song off the album.  There is so much going right here that I can’t figure out, for the life of me, why it wasn’t one of the singles released to promote the record.  From the Southern steel-string that winds back and forth with pummeling electric riffs and the soaring vocals, this song just POPS!  The Southern-tinged atmosphere adds a down-to-Earth quality, while little touches like the rapid-fire rhythm lick behind the chorus just take it to another level.  Not to mention, this track has a contagious groove that permeates through the rest of the album as well.

Sevendust has been releasing albums for the last 18 years and, while I’m not a fan of smoking, this album certainly seems to be lit.  From the very first notes until the sound has faded from my ears, I’ve been hooked on this record.  If this is what I’ve been missing over the last 10 years then I have some catching up to do.  Kill The Flaw finds the band in top form, with no signs of slowing down or running out of things to sing about or pummel into dust.  And it certainly sounds like they’re having a blast doing it!

For more on Sevendust, visit:
Official Website
Purchase Kill The Flaw from: iTunes | Amazon | Google Play | From The Band
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