Formerly known as Absence Of Fear before undergoing significant line-up changes, Where Giants Once Stood have released their aptly named debut album, 'The Changing', marking a whole new beginning for the band.
The release is a seven-track assault on the senses, taking a modern approach to Metal but with an eye on their Metal roots, fusing traditional guitar solos, technical riffing, screaming vocals and soaring melodic choruses with modern breakdowns and electronic samples.
This modern approach will certainly hold a lot of appeal to younger Metal fans, there are some good vocals from Reshaun Page, a mix of gutturals, screams and cleans and the balance between the two is about right, not too many cleans, which were a touch emotive for my personal tastes but nonetheless very well executed, the guy has a great voice and a phenomenal range. What did really appeal to me, personally, were the technical elements to the guitars from Jordan Turnbull, altogether the combination making a good debut release.
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The album opens on, 'Awakening', an instrumental keyboard based intro which leads into the album single 'The Heavens Tremble', a technical track with a great solo. The vocal range on 'Secrets' is quite broad, starting on a brutal opener before panning out to scope between deeply brutal one moment and to emotive the next, but to great effect and garnished with great technical guitar elements.
'Disbelievers' has a melodic opener that soon ramps up to a manic tech fest. The acoustic segment midway through was a pleasant surprise and the track has a tasty closing solo.
Having been seriously distracted by the guitar work on this release, it took until 'A Broken Memory' to notice what an intense powerhouse of a drummer Austin Hamilton is; there is some excellent, fast and powerful drum work by him, particularly on this track.
'Transition' is a keyboard sample lead mini track, not much as a standalone piece but as a transition it did lead nicely into the final track 'The Changing' which opens on some great guitar work and gets better and better as it progresses, ending with the world's fastest guitar solo? Well it might be, but the track is a good ender to the album for sure.
All songs are written by Where Giants Once Stood, the production and mixing is by Kent Sheehey at Unity Market Cafe and Studios and mastered by Troy Glessner at Spectre Studios.
The album certainly surpasses my original expectation because although very emotive in the vocal department at times which is not a 'goat floater' for me, at others times it is very brutal, this and the strong technical element won me over.