Review: Whizzing Back to the Black Hole Space Wizard

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If you’ve ever, even once, found yourself bobbing your head to a crunchy stoner doom groove, Howling Giant is a name you should know.

Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1, released almost exactly a year ago, is full of bright and speedy riffs that easily transport you to the dystopian sci-fi world. I was hooked immediately. The guitars are far too loud, the vocals soar with ease, the drums are just on the other side of predictable, and an organ fills the tone during the rare gaps in noise: all things I like in my stoner doom. Every song is a goddamn blast.

My top albums of the year so far are almost all either doom or non-metal, so when I saw the announcement of Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2, I pre-planned to make room for yet another. In Part 2, the trio from Nashville continues the story of the doomed spaceman or something like that, I don’t know, there’s probably a story there but I never stopped listening to the riffs long enough to pay attention the lyrics to know where the story left off.

“Henry Tate” starts slow with a wobbling psychedelic tone and serves as a good transition between the two EPs, as Part 2 as a whole is a little more introspective and a little less flashy. The story kicks off on the “The Pioneer” with the story of the stranded cosmonaut narrated with riffs of despair followed by hopeful solos. Surprisingly, things don’t really pick up speed until the intro of the fourth track, “Circle of Druids”, and even then the chorus and the majority of the track are more focused on being cathartic than full of the speedy riffs that got me hooked on them in the first place. I planned on talking a bit about each song, but I’d be saying the same thing every time! I like this, but I wish it was faster.

Part 2 is a consistent thematic follow-up to last year’s release, but it rarely hits the magical highs of Part 1. Perhaps this EP, the second in a three part series, is the melancholic part of the story and they needed to write music to fit that theme. Assuming something like this is true, I am nowhere near giving up on Howling Giant. I will just eagerly await Part 3 since I know they have not lost any of their ability to write killer riffs, it just took them 20 minutes of a 30-minute EP to finally show me one this time.

That all being said, there are some great solos, the vocals are consistently on point, and I really like the mood of the whole thing. Their tone and ability to craft a song still puts them leagues ahead of your average neighborhood stoner doom band; I was just craving a whole lot of speed and Howling Giant only left a  “Fun Size” of it in the bag.

3 Out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2 comes out Friday, pick it up here.

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