Sebastian Baltes - Bass/vocals
Tom Polzine - Guitar/vocals
Zach Wheeler - Drums/vocals
Despite Nashville’s reputation for assembly-line pop country, the town called Music City is a place of deep history, where brilliant songwriters and virtuoso session players keep dozens of musical legacies burning bright. Nashville’s preeminent fuzz-psych power trio Howling Giant live in the pocket of that lineage, and on their eagerly awaited second full-length, Glass Future, they kick out the righteous jams with furrowed determination and wild abandon.
Howling Giant formed in Nashville nearly ten years ago with the union of guitarist/vocalist Tom Polzine, drummer/vocalist Zach Wheeler, and bassist/vocalist Roger Marks. From day one, the trio locked into a musical groove of thunderous metal, proggy acrobatics, psychedelic flourishes and soaring melodic vocals, telling stories of fantasy and adventure with such sheer force of will that they seemed capable of opening a window to other dimensions. Their early years saw a flurry of recorded activity, with an acclaimed self-titled EP in 2015 and an audacious concept piece split across two EPs, 2016’s Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1 and 2017’s Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2.
On the strength of those EPs and a growing, fervent fanbase, Howling Giant set out to bring their arena-sized energy to the people with the hunger of true road dogs. Throughout 2017 and 2018, they crisscrossed the United States, pouring out heart and soul (and sweat) while flying the flag of emotive, intricate heavy rock and roll. This tireless energy eventually brought them to such prominent festival stages as Psycho Las Vegas in 2018 and both SXSW and Psycho Smokeout in 2019. Around this time, Marks left the band and Howling Giant achieved its current form with the addition of bassist/vocalist Sebastian Baltes.
In early 2019, Howling Giant teamed up with Blues Funeral Recordings to release debut full-length The Space Between Worlds, an album which saw the band channel the bristling electricity of their live sound and push further into both cosmic drift and punishing heaviness.
As the COVID-19 pandemic put an embargo on live music, Howling Giant found new ways to connect with their ardent fans. Through a weekly schedule of live-streamed events on Twitch, the band continued to nurture community during an isolating, disorienting time. In addition to Dungeons & Dragons sessions and cooking lessons, Howling Giant opened up their rehearsal process to the fans, streaming writing jams that led to instrumental EP Alteration in 2021 and planted the seeds for their next album.
Now in partnership with Magnetic Eye Records, Howling Giant are poised to release their second album Glass Future.
From the first notes, it’s clear that the band has tapped into the next level of the cosmic vibrations that power them. Tom Polzine’s guitar licks dance across the frets with airy precision and lunge at the listener with red-lined roars. Sebastian Baltes’s bass stalks and coils like a snake and digs deep into mile-wide grooves. Zach Wheeler’s drums are as frantic as they are restrained, tossing out cross-meter fills and stepping out with stuttering snare runs that dare the others to match their bristling energy. Long-time friend of the band Drew Harakal provides crucial accompaniment on organ, piano, and synths, suffusing these future anthems with vintage tones and contemplative depth.
Howling Giant’s not-so-secret weapon is their honey-rich and wisdom-worn vocal attack. With all three members pitching in, Glass Future reaches some of its most glorious highs through soaring, indelible choruses and tight triple harmonies. Lead single “Sunken City” is a roiling, locked-in rocker with a massive chorus hook and searing instrumental break that rides a cresting wave of impossibly triumphant momentum. Whether it’s on the powerful gallop and nasty, swaggering groove of instrumental knockout “First Blood of Melchor” or the loping sprint of the parallel guitar and keyboard leads on the title track, whether the wide-open golden chug of “Siren Song” or the lilting, forlorn psychedelic trip of “Tempest and the Liar’s Gateway,” Howling Giant fires on so many cylinders across these taut 41 minutes that the reeling mind has no choice but to follow their assured stride.
Is Howling Giant’s music like a dream tour of Mastodon and Rush supporting the Beach Boys in 1970? Does Glass Future sound like Queens of the Stone Age, Devin Townsend, and Torche holding a songwriting clinic in Pink Floyd’s backyard? Friend, Howling Giant doesn’t owe you those answers, but their whirlwind new album might give you some new questions to ask, new rivers to cross, new frontiers to explore.
With Glass Future burning a hole in their pocket, 2023 finds Howling Giant setting out on a far-reaching North American tour with Elder and Ruby the Hatchet and playing the illustrious Desertfest Belgium. On Glass Future, they play with the thoughtful, careworn ease of people who know hardship and pain yet decide to press on because that’s the only thing we can do. As they sing on the album’s elegiac closer, “There’s no company, save for those we create.” With this remarkable album, Howling Giant extends a hand, saying: let’s find the future together.
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