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Giant Squid

Experimental/Post Metal

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Giant Squid Metridium Field album cover
3.59 | 33 ratings | 9 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Megaptera in the Delta (0:50)
2. Neonate (6:39)
3. Versus the Siren (9:34)
4. Ampullae of Lorenzini (9:16)
5. Summit (6:39)
6. Eating Machine (0:55)
7. Revolution in the Water (5:33)
8. Metridium Field (21:09)

Total Time 60:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Aaron Gregory / acoustic & electric guitars, theremin, banjo (2006), vocals
- Bill Hughes / guitar (2004)
- Aurielle Gregory / piano, Rhodes, Hammond, Farfisa, Magnus organ, synths (Juno-106, Prophet 600, Moog Opus 3, Micromoog), guitar, banjo, vocals
- Bryan Beeson / bass, vocals (2004)
- Jason Divincenzo / drums (2004)
- Michael Conroy / drums (2006)

- Jason Rufuss Sewell / panpipes, shenai & ocarina (2), Juno-60 synth (3), Hammond (4), co-producer & mixing (2006)
- Tim Conroy / trumpet (2006)
- Andy Southard / synths (8-2006)

Releases information

Artwork: John Singleton Copley's "Watson And The Shark"

CD Tyrannosaurus Records ‎- trecs6 (2004, US)
CD The End Records ‎- TE076 (2006, US) Re-recording

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GIANT SQUID Metridium Field ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GIANT SQUID Metridium Field reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Giant Squid is an interesting band that's alone at what they're doing. A unique band that manages to sound fresh and innovative within the realms of the prog metal genre. Take the crunchy guitars from the post-metal genre, but milder; the vocals from System of a Down, but less crazy; the pomposity of prog bands (psychedelic Hammond organ included) and add some couple more things to the mix and you'll get Giant Squid.

Metridium Fields is a pseudo-eclectic album that has different themes and styles mixed in the album. Of course, the main theme here is sea creatures and all things related and they manage to emulate the ocean's atmosphere quite nicely (like Jackie's vocals sounding like a siren or guitar riffs giving impressions of the waves). To help create this they used instruments like the theremin, banjo, trumpet, cello and a variety of keyboards that also help make the album a diverse and more colorful experience. The vocals here are a major role in the emotional department, they're very eloquent and melodramatic. The duos of Aaron and Jackie are just as good as the ones heard in Grayceon (it isn't much of a surprise since she's a member of Grayceon as well). Just like the vocals, the music here is emotional first and complex second (or third...) so it makes for an accessible listen that many people will greatly enjoy.

By the end of the album every song seem to be just perfect with little or no flaws at all, pompous and just plain good, but sadly the album looses some steam in the 20 minute "Metridium Fields". It isn't a by any means a bad song, but it overstays its welcome. I don't mind repetition at all, but the song doesn't really fits the tempo or mood of the album. Personally, I wish it would've been a bit shorter, the album would've been a real winner.

Don't let the previous remark discourage you, this is still one heck of an album worth listening. Fresh and innovative prog metal that's easy to appreciate and hard to put down. It's quite hard to describe their music in words so I left out many of the things that makes this album so good, but if interested feel free to give Giant Squid a listen, you won't be disappointed.

3.8 - 4 out of 5

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars My 400th review!!!

I’ve decided to find this album after getting GRAYCEON (whose cello player is a part of GIANT SQUID line-up). Ruben’s euphoric review made me even more interested, and here I am – writing my own one.

GIANT SQUID sounds very massive, just like PELICAN or RED SPAROWES, but closer to Post-Rock bands in terms of sophisticated music and its moods. I was trembling in fear hoping that vocals won’t be TOO harsh, because that’s the main problem I have with Post-Metal bands – I tolerate Black-Metal screaming and Death/Doom-Metal growling, but that moans and cries, that ISIS and CULT OF LUNA fans tend to regard as vocals, simply annoy me. Thanks Prog, Aaron sings very good, very emotional, somewhat really in Serg Tankyan (SYSTEM OF A DOWN) vein, but this comparison is valid only for two tracks (“Neonate” and “Summit”, both are among my favouritest ones on the record), other songs have quite another shades of vocal work (including Jackie’s beautiful vocals). Longer tracks have mellower atmosphere (like namesake epic, slowly building for 16 minutes to logical climax), some are even KAYO DOT-related (dreamy trumpet solo in “Versus the Siren” coda). GIANT SQUID is less chaotic and extreme than most Post-Metal bands and can be seriously recommended not only for Post-Rock lovers, but for anyone who’s interested in contemporary Prog’s progression :) Besides these guys are nice and communicative, rejecting any kind of snobbery towards themselves and their music. If Prog has future, is lies where GIANT SQUID, GRAYCEON, OCEANSIZE and some other modern bands dwell. Take this train and you won’t regret for sure. Highly recommended!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rough waters and what lurks below the surface (insert evil laugh...)

Metridium Field is a dark and heavy slab of music featuring sounds meant to convey the murkiness of the subjects of deep waters: heavy guitars and drums, a teaming of harsh male and lighter female vocals, unique fringe instrumentations. The sounds of the core rhythm backing throughout brings to mind the slow rocking of "Kivitetty Saatana" from Alamaailman Vasarat. Different instruments and approach of course, but the mood of that song is the mood running through this album, and here it reminds me of the swaying of our ship on the rough sea.

"Neonate" begins with a crunching wall of sound as heavy as Sabbath but just as quickly pulls back into quieter sections with nice bass parts. The male vocals are pretty harsh although not growling, and accented by light female vocals. "Versus the Siren" starts with a wavy mellow lilt courtesy of some clean guitar, keys and soft drumming. Here the male and female vocals are both mellow. There is some interesting trumpet (I think) playing here as well. Halfway through they punch it hard and make the trumpet fight through some violent guitars before it settles again into a quieter section that ends the song with calm. "Ampullae of Lorenzini" features some nice vocals harmonies amidst alternating sparse sections (just bass and drums) and heavy sections (full throttle guitars.) As Ruben said the playing is not all that complex, especially the guitars and drums, but aimed more at achieving emotional atmospherics. The first half of "Summit" is just drop dead gorgeous with more lovely harmonies and sparse guitar, the second half is a mid-gear rock out. "Eating Machine" is an annoying one minute spoken dry-humor bit they dropped in, cute the first time but they should have realized that by the 20th play it gets awfully old. "Revolution in the Water" is very loud with some blood curdling screams and power chord assaults but is not all that interesting frankly. Then comes the big 20+ minute title track to make or break things. It starts slow and brooding with clean guitar over eerie human voices in the background. The guitar is picking slowly at some lovely notes as keys and a second guitar build in more density behind, but very gradually. At about 4 minutes the huge heavy main riff finally descends and we're now loud but moving at a slow, deliberate pace. This reminds me of Agalloch's sound. Various strange instrumentals and vocal styles will emerge from the fog for a brief appearance and then disappear back into it. But from that point at around 4 minutes until the end, you have nearly a continuous repetitive drone riff that will drive some people crazy, despite the embellishments going on in front of it and the slight fluctuations towards the end. Speaking for myself, it's not compelling enough to interest me for 17 straight minutes. By about halfway through this I'm ready to start painting the windows. Had this track stopped at about the 10-12 minute mark it would be a winner. It's not bad but just too damn long for what they have. The last minute concludes with a calm section.

"Metridium Field" is a pretty decent album that I could certainly recommend to fans of this genre although not much wider than that. The rhythm guitar sound seems pretty low-rent like the guy is playing through a really cheap distortion pedal/amp without many changes in dynamics. He's not a bad guitarist, I just don't like the sound. Big difference. The album is good for sure but it is not as accomplished as Pax Cecilia, not as polished as Agalloch, nor as deliciously melodic as Morningside. A respectable effort. 3 stars.

Review by Dim
3 stars Giant squid, the prog rock band, with post metal tendancies. This album is actually really fun, it's hard for me to give it three stars, but their still trying to find their sound on this one, which leads me to beleive that their next album will be around the status of a maasterpiece. My favirote part about this bad is how accesible it is, and at the same time highly experimental, and unpredictable. One song can be an upbeat song with a horn solo, the next can be a very soft song, on the virge of a climax, but never hits it.

Like I said, the album is unpredictable, there is no flow or attitude to the album. Every song stands out, therefore making it very hard to take in one sitting, and even harder comprehend upon first listens. Now, if you want to know how the album is on a musicians level, the electric guitar harmonies are very post metalish, the drumming is very simple rock, not a lot of double bass, but also maintain a kind of metal edge to them. Then theres the multiple keyboard players, and horn players, which make themselves very hearable, but usually stay in the backround. There are a couple of solo's by both instruments, some even with ensembles. If you are looking for these instruments, versus the siren, and metridium feild are the ones in which they are most prevelant. The vocals are probably my favirote part of this band. The lead singers voice kinda reminds me of the twenty first century Peter Hammil, his voice go's where ever it wants, and it's always a lot of fun to listen to. There are at least five other singers, the females is especially good, while the other male ones are very very low. Now, the song kind of follows the trend of not following a trend until the last song, metridium fields, IMO one of the most disapointing epics I've evr heard. Actually the first ten minuetes are actually quite good, typical prog rock jam sessions and lyrics until they get into this kid of post metal riff... and thats it, for ten minuetes, the same riff OVER AND OVER! I mean, I can take four, hell, maybe six minuetes, but not for ten. Some keyboard and horn solo's try to fill up the blandness, but they can only do so much. I think this was a case of a young band dreaming big, but not knowing how to fulfill it... yet.

So, Although the last song was absolute disapointment, there is no reason to blow this band off. I gurentee you this group has a future on this site, they just didnt get off on a masterpiece album, which is completely understandable. One last note, if your looking for 100% pure post metal, this is not it. The genre this band is labled under is very misleading, it's the only one thats fits their sound close enough. So dont be disapointed when you dont hear a lot of post, metal, or post metal. 3 stars.

Review by sean
4 stars Certainly not a masterpiece, but this album shows Giant Squid is certainly capable of making one in the future. The name Giant Squid is perfect for this band. Their sound is a massive, heavy, brutal one that maintains an air of mystery and darkness, juxtaposed with delicate sections that showcase the band's more melodic side. The music tends to be slow, though it does speed up at times, which provides nice contrast, unlike many bands who stay slow throughout the whole record or on the other hand, those that never slow down. The slowness of the music tends to make the riffs sound that much more brutal, a good thing considering that the bands lyrical topics for the most part deal with the deep sea, and much of the vocal delivery is of a tormented, despondent nature. The band does show a sense of humour though, such as the short track Eating Machine. This album could deter those looking for traditional prog rock/metal, who seek complex times and loads of solos. The progressiveness of this album lies in it's experimentation with sounds/textures and the atmospheres it creates. It certainly is a unique sounding album, and they use quite a few instruments not exactly common in the metal world. My favourite particular instance of this is probably the trumpet parts in Versus the Siren. None of the playing is overly complex or virtuostic, but the players are competent and certainly make things more interesting than most metal bands nowadays. The vocal delivery is interesting as well. Giant Squid features two lead vocalists, a male and a female, but they manage to avoid the generic pitfalls that most metal bands with that setup fall into. The male vocals for the most part are of a more anguished/harsh nature whereas the female vocals tend to be soft and delicate. However, there are moments where the male voice is soft and the female screams, so they do change it up a bit. Like I said, certainly not a masterpiece, but a promising beginning for one of the more unique bands I've heard. I'm certainly looking forward to what the future holds for Giant Squid.
Review by Bonnek
3 stars Metridium Fields is the debut album of the US band Giant Squid, a highly original gathering whose name brings both Giant Sand and Gentle Giant to mind. The music isn't really similar to those bands, but nevertheless it shares the rough and tattered desert vibe from Giant Sand and the highly eclectic mix of styles from Gentle Giant.

While the record easily impressed me at first, the attraction didn't last. The immediate attraction came from the unique sound of the album, created by mixing the brutal post-metal of Neurosis with more gentle indie rock touches, with the jazzy vibe of King Crimson's Islands album and a free experimental attitude. So it has all the ingredients to deliver an explosive cocktail. But?

The reason why I grew tired of the album is because it misses passion. No matter how intense the vocalist tries to deliver, the musicians leg a few leagues behind. At no point on this album do I hear anything interesting from the musicians. Especially the heavy guitars never go beyond stereotype Black Sabbath riffing. Also the drums are pretty basic. The soft guitars and accompanying instruments work better, but at its heavy moments this album is craving for a streak of fire.

Metridium Fields is a promising album but not one I kept playing a lot. Giant Squid returned with another album 3 years later (The Ichthyologist), where they brushed up the flaws of the debut and where their songwriting and sound works a lot more convincingly. I suggest you start there.

Review by Kempokid
4 stars Doom and sludge metal are both genres that while I love listening to, I find myself rarely doing so, usually because of the commitment I feel I have to put in to fully appreciate it, as it isn't really music for putting on in the background at any point. Giant Squid manages to bridge this gap extremely effectively on their debut album, Metridium Fields, by having a proggier edge to it, along with having an atmosphere that isn't quite as heavy and oppressive as regular doom metal. Furthermore, there are some elements of beauty, along with 2 vocalists that are both excellent, both performing incredibly passionately to further push this album in the direction of greatness.

Most of the songs here are built around 1 or 2 slow, distorted, sludgy riffs that repeat seemingly endlessly, often with some sort of unique characteristic, whether it be a saxophone solo, a shift into more powerful, emotional territory, or even a stylistic change into more exotic instruments and sounds. This provides the album with enough variety while still maintaining a distinct identity. The more important thing to keep in mind about this album, beyond atmosphere and all that, is that the riffs here are awesome each one having a certain repetitive groove, moving up and down in a way that makes ne think of a large, open ocean, waves reaching high before crashing back down. Along with being absolutely superb to headbang to, the riffs tend to be of the perfect tempo to be downright hypnotic, no matter how over the top the rest of the band gets, that consistency of the riffing ends up causing the listener to be mindlessly moving along to the music. These riffs often tend to avoid the trappings of being repeated to the point of boredom, as they tend to be the kind of special riffs that feel as if they could just go on forever and you wouldn't complain, at least that's how it felt to me. The best example of this is the 20 minute title track, which while I'vee seen a lot of people talk lowly about this for being so long and repetitive, but each tmie I listen to this song, each element just puts me in a trance, the incredible, slow moving riff and the sombre tones of the keyboard, with elements such as the saxophone and clarinet occasionally coming in to provide a bit of variety and further emotional impact, but ultimately, the draw of this song to me is just how hypnotic it is, all the way through, in a similar way to the way repetitive krautrock does.

The vocals throughout the album are also a major draw to me, the female ones being soft and delicate, and the slightly manic passion put into the male ones makes the vocalist sound almost identical to System of a Down's Serj Tankian, commendable for being able to have such a similar voice to what I consider to be an incredibly unique vocalist. If I have one issue with this album, it would be that the songs for the most part have an extremely similar structure, each belting out one crushing riff for a while, having a little bridge, and then either bringing out a new riff or continuing to repeat the old one. While this is fine, due to the execution of it being great, it does leave something to be desired, especially when there are songs such as Versus The SIren on this. Versus the Siren is definitely my favourite song on the album, and it's all to do with the structure of it, having 4 minutes od absolute beauty, with subtle, breathy male vocals being strewn throughout a beautiful performance from Aurielle Gregory. From here it escalates, introducing a more traditional metal riff, juxtaposed by one that would feel more at home in a 90s indie rock album, clashing against each other in spectacular fashion, with Aaron Gregory mournfully singing over this intense instrumental backing, before it all dies down, leaving nothing but isolated trumpet, bringing the song to a close.

I find this album overall to be surprisingly good, being able to have some more eclectic aspects to them while maintaining a heavy focus on the heavy, sludgy elements of their sound, The outstanding displays of passion are able to provide a counterbalance to what could have become an overwhelming and monotonous album. While there are times in which combining elements of prog with other genres leads to poor outcomes, as they can become too outrageous and messy for their own good, collapsing in on itself, this album manages to avoid such pitfalls, being an excellent middle ground.

Best tracks: Versus the Siren, Metridium Fields

Weakest tracks: Summit

Verdict: Combining the hard riffs of the slower, heavier genres of metal with the more eccentric qualities of prog leads to a great album in the end, and one that I could see fans of either genre finding some enjoyment out of, as long as they enjoyed repetition.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars The Sacramento, CA based GIANT SQUID first caught the world's attention with its debut "Metridium Field" in 2004 due to the fact it was produced by Billy Anderson of Neurosis, Melvins, Mr Bungle and High On Fire fame. This caught the attention of The End Records not only due to Anderson's involvement but because of the band's unique mix of sludgy doom metal, progressive rock, indie rock and psychedelia. The band was founded as far back as 2002 by Aaron John Gregory (guitar, lead vocals), Bryan Beeson (bass guitar), Bill Hughes (guitar), and Aurielle Zeitler (keyboards, vocals) after several members had played under the moniker Koi and Namor.

While "Metridium Field" was self-released, in order to get a record deal with The End Records, it was required to re-record that album and after that process was all said and done, the band released its label debut as METRIDIUM FIELDS two years later in 2006. The album hit a strong note in both the metal and prog communities as well as sparking interest from more adventurous indie rockers. With a playing time of almost an hour that includes eight tracks, METRIDIUM FIELDS hosted an impressive cast of musicians that included a few guests that played several interesting instruments as the panpipes, shenai, ocarina, Hammond organ and trumpet which gave the album a very interesting and unique sound indeed. Also unique to the band's sound was the inclusion of theremin, banjo and a variety of percussion.

While included in metal databases due to the ample amount of sludgy doom metal present, METRIDIUM FIELDS favors the prog end of the spectrum with lengthy sprawling epic sounding compositions that borrow a thing or two from the processional style of post-rock and then fortify the callithump of creativity with the aforementioned tones and timbres of the instruments at hand. Some of the tracks don't even sound like it's the same band especially when Aurielle Gregory is performing vocal duties such as on the near 10 minute "Versus The Siren" which focuses on an atmospheric ethereal surrealism over the otherwise groovy rock riffing sessions that make up the lion's share of METRIDIUM FIELDS.

Aaron Gregory provides most of the male vocals and sounds like he's indecisive in his direction. While Neurosis is a clear influence in his shouty declarations and vocal angst, at times he sounds like he wants to be a punk rocker and other times a quirky indie rock star but often comes across as someone who listened to a lot of retro prog especially the moments when the 70s organ attacks swell like inflammation of an arthritic princess with gout. Add the sound effects and vocal samples and it's clear rather quickly that GIANT SQUID strived to add as many disparate sounds, styles and emotive conveyances as possible without sacrificing the underlying post-rock cyclic rhythmic cycles that generate an hour's worth of playing time.

For all METRIDIUM FIELDS has going for it, i still fail to connect with this album on many levels as it seems that the overarching vision has been sacrificed in order to stuff in as many variations of sound, style and instrumentation as possible without going totally Mr Bungle on us. In other words, the ideas on this album just don't hang together as successfully as they should. The little experimental bout with weirdness in the form of "Eating Machine" that provides an intermission of sort just sounds completely out of place and while any given track sounds decent in its own right doesn't seem to fit in with a larger concept. Usually this doesn't bother me but when an underlying post-rock sentiment is expressed it seems like it's less forgiving when experimentation doesn't connect somehow. Overall METRIDIUM FIELDS is a decent label debut by GIANT SQUID but this is the kind of album i can appreciate but am more annoyed but how i think it should have been rather than accept it on its own terms. Oh well, they can't all be zingers for all of us and this one falls short of supreme zingatude.

3.5 but rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars Love at first listen. I sampled Giant Squid because of this site, and bought both of their albums immediately. Just a hunch, really, for my gut rarely lets me down. I've never been too keen on sludge/doom/black/death metal, mainly for the lack of instrument variation and the dreaded growling. ... (read more)

Report this review (#202201) | Posted by Sgt. Smiles | Monday, February 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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