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Experimental/Post Metal • United States

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Giant Squid biography
Formed in Austin, Texas, USA (later San Francisco, California) in 2002 - Suspended in 2015

Massively heavy, yet delicately beautiful, GIANT SQUID makes brutally honest and sincere music that no one genre will be able to claim it for its own. A formidable beast like its namesake, GIANT SQUID wields immaculate tone, inspirational songwriting, and organic, yet fierce walls of melody.
With the addition of famed metal electric cellist, Jackie Perez Gratz, (Grayceon, Amber Aslyum) in 2007, GIANT SQUID, moved from their temporary residence in Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA and continued to tour the United States and Canada behind their explosive and critically adored debut, Metridium Fields (The End Records), engineered by heavy music legend, Billy Anderson (Neurosis, High on Fire) and produced by Jason Rufuss Sewell. In 2008, the band left The End Records in order to stop touring behind a record that only a few current band members were on, and to dig deep in to the writing process of the land mark album that would define them to the world, The Ichthyologist, engineered, mixed, and produced by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon, Minus the Bear). Finding themselves with out a label, the band self financed the entire process, from recording costs and hiring the famed producer behind it, to hiring a PR firm, and finally manufacturing the custom packaged CDs, hand numbered and limited to 1000 copies. This initial batch sold out exclusively through the band's myspace page and a few select online distributors in less than six months, causing the band to personally ship every order themselves to the furthest reaches of the world. Following this, GIANT SQUID quickly signed to Translation Loss Records who re-released The Ichthyologist with full SONY/BMG distribution, gaining a monumental amount of exposure for the band and the album. The new version featured altered mixes and all new album art by comic book legend, Sam Keith (The Maxx). Vega Vinyl handled a limited release of the double LP version of the record.

In 2011, GIANT SQUID returned to the studio in Seattle, WA again with producer Matt Bayles, to record their most powerful release yet, Cenotes. This second official release for Translation Loss is technically an EP, though all five songs total nearly thirty five minutes of music. Cenotes continues the adventurous subject matter and story of The Icthyologist's protagonist, and features album art entirely by founding band member, guitarist and vocalist,...
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Monster in the CreekMonster in the Creek
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GIANT SQUID discography

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GIANT SQUID top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 28 ratings
Metridium Field
3.65 | 59 ratings
The Ichthyologist
4.23 | 22 ratings
4.11 | 9 ratings

GIANT SQUID Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GIANT SQUID Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GIANT SQUID Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GIANT SQUID Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 5 ratings
Monster in the Creek


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 Cenotes by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.23 | 22 ratings

Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Sgt. Smiles

5 stars CENOTE - A deep natural well or sinkhole formed by the collapse of surface limestone which exposes the ground water underneath.

The title of Giant Squid's monstrous EP very much fits the suffocating onslaught of the music trapped within. On "Cenotes" the band strays from the variety of instrument and personnel experimentation of their previous effort, "The Ichthyologist", to a simplified version of what the four core members are capable of on their own. It does not disappoint. Each track, save for Figura Serpentinata, travels from the realm of heartfelt melody to an ocean of crushing riffs without altering the song structure. Predictable crescendos perhaps, but nonetheless exhilarating. If you can't bang your head to this album you simply have no pulse.

To be fair to the band I will also annoyingly complain that this album is an EP, not a full length LP as it is labeled on this site, and therefore excused for it's play time of only 35 minutes. And to quote one of the band members, it is "the mother(expletive) Voltron of EPs". Yes, yes it is. The guitar/cello interplay is sublime, backed by a punishing rhythm section and very much complimented by the male/female vocal blending which can be absolutely haunting at times.

Tongue Stones- Heavy, epic and formidable way to start the album with plenty of highs and lows. A lengthy song which begins softly, then gives birth to devastation and refuses to quit. Mating Scars- Similar in vein to it's predecessor: A long track with a beautiful intro that naturally dives into the deep end, comes back up for air and sinks again. Stunning vocals and nice tribal-esque breakdowns in this one. Snakehead- An upbeat Squid song with a funky middle-eastern feel that completely rocks, for lack of a better term. You'll find yourself waiting and waiting for the heavy riffs to take over, completely immersed by the time they do. Figura Serpentinata- Sort of a quickie for this band. Fast paced and relatively short, but captivating enough to leave a whet palate. Personally I am never ready for this song to end. Cenotes- I find the album's closer to be a reverse of formula for Giant Squid, starting fast and heavy and eventually morphing into a trailing trance-worthy fade to black. An exquisite outro to say the least.

Most music lovers will, at some point, discover a lesser known act whose lack of widespread popularity boggles the mind. For me, Giant Squid is that band. Granted, part of me enjoys the diamond in the rough obscurity, but I can say with pure honesty that I simply do not understand how, on a songwriting level, they have not made bigger waves in the gigantic metal community. They offer the perfect blend of complexity and simplicity without losing any hook. The artistic integrity of their music is, in my opinion, unchallengeable. As an LP this would get 4 stars, based on length and length alone, but this is an EP, and I've heard few EPs more deserving of 5 stars.

5 emphatic stars for Cenotes, only because there are no more to give.

 Cenotes by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.23 | 22 ratings

Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by tamijo

4 stars Giant Squid - Cenotes

This was my first experience with Giant Squid. Besides the fact that they had a Cello player, and this was metal, I did not know what to expect. ? It was a nice surprise right from the first note.

This is a sort of prog. doom metal, with a thick Metal sound, but with a lot of input from other genres. The Cello plays a very vital role in the mix, very present all the time. The Guitar and the Cello duels are amazingly beautiful. And the vocals are very varied, from heavy rock styles too folk'ish vocals.

Stylish there are elements from Asian/Middel East music, and elements of classic inspired music mixed into the Metal power poundings.

Sometimes the tempo is fast sometimes almost frantic, at other times its very slow. The album is shots and compact, but that is not a bad thing. Quality prevails quantity.

A strog 4 stars, and for those who like their music to be this hard, I bet it could easy be a 5 star. This is metal, and you have to be into metal, to like it. If you do not like metal at all, the chance you will love this one is next to none.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This being the first album I heard from this American band, I did not know what to expect given the Post-Metal tag. The music here generally is not metal, it could almost fit in Eclectic. The most metal sounding parts are some of the guitar riffs. Even though this is not very metal, I can hear an influence from System Of A Down here. I haven't heard their first album yet so I don't know if it sounds any different. In addition to the guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, there is banjo and electric cello. Guest musicians play oboe, violin, flute and trumpet. There are guest female vocalists as well as the versatile singing of bandleader Aaron Gregory. The album was based on a concept of his.

Although the cover featured here is good, there is a better alternate cover showing a hand with a mouth and eyeballs on the end of the fingers. Cool looking. I have to admit this is one of those albums where I like it the more I hear it. The song titles are long with Latin subtitles (fake Latin?). "Panthalassa (Lampetra tridentata)" has a good marching snare drum. Nice trumpet in this song. The main heavy riff is not bad either. "Sutterville (Vibrio cholorae)" is a nice easy going light jazzy song. An effect is put on an overdubbed female vocal at one point, which is a nice contrast to the other vocals. Male and female wordless harmony vocals in the middle. Gets more 'rock' sounding near the end. Cricket noises to end it.

"Dead Man Slough (Pacifastacus Ieniusculus)" is a highlight. Love the guitar and Tom Waits-like vocals. Nice mix of electric guitar and banjo here. Good violin work. I like the break in the middle with the female vocals. We get a heavy riff near the end. "Sevengill (Notorynchus cepidianus)" has what sounds like a ship's horn blaring at the beginning, followed by guitar, vocals and drums. Basically a ballad. Nice flute during the 'chorus' part. Some great electric cello at one point. Gets louder and heavier near the end with some double-tracked female vocals. Ends with the sound of seagulls.

"Mormon Island (Alluvial Au)" is a slow-paced mellow song with no drums. Mostly female vocals, violin and electric cello. The song kind of drags on and brings the quality of the album down a bit. Nice banjo near the end, though. "Emerald Bay (Prionace glauca)" has the Tom Waits-style vocals again. The music is based around guitar strums. Some good electric cello in this song. "Rubicon Wall (Acipenser transmontanus)" has a cool riff that starts almost halfway; it comes back later. I like the vocals during that riff. This song changes quite a bit and is one of the more interesting songs on the album.

This is a great album which surpassed my expectations. I'll have to check out their first album some time. It's nice to see modern bands attempting to do something different. The results can always vary of course, but here things generally work out for the best. I don't know who to recommend this to, but it's recommendable. 4 stars.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Many Tentacled Monster Music

Giant Squid's ICTHYOLOGIST gets credit for one of the coolest album covers of 2009, with alternate images being even better. (The tentacled hand with a central mouth is nicely spooky.) This album was my introduction to the band, who had made a splash with their debut a few years earlier. ICTHYOLOGIST features numerous guest musicians, and the addition of Grayceon's Jackie Perez Gratz on cello and vocals as a full member. But the center of the sound is Aaron Gregory who provides a low crunchy guitar grind and whining strident vocals that are definitely reminiscent of System of a Down's Serj Tankian.

Giant Squid's music combines sludgy grooves with a slightly avant aesthetic and a variety of surprises on instrumentation to create a sound that would definitely qualify as "Art Metal." There are allusions to stage music, though almost always in a minor key or at least a dark tone. Gregory takes a few cues from Mr. Bungle and adopts some odd character voices a la Patton. He has some interesting vocal interplay with Gratz throughout the album, and Anneke van Giersbergen on "Sevengill." The male / female combo adds a nice texture that certainly pulls the music above virtually all grunted post-metal.

There are no bad tracks on the album, but "Panthalassa," "Throwing a Donner Party," "Mormon Island," and "Sevengill" stand out. "Donner Party" is probably the fastest song on the album, and is sorely needed among the overall draggy pace of the disc. Here Gregory's lyrics get so strained that they remind of the B-52's Fred Schneider. Nate Perkins' trumpet appears on the first two, and is a welcome element that adds a sense of lift as well. The last track mentioned actually evokes the deep sea and the monsters found there. Starting in a slow march, it develops to include a great cello solo line, a soaring vocal by Anneke, and Gregory yelling forth in agony.

As with all post-metal, the dragging-a-stone-though-mud pacing can get old after awhile. The Squid does as well as anyone to add enough interest to fight this, and might not even qualify as post-metal as a result. I imagine some really enjoy staying in this mode for this amount of time. But no matter how well rendered, being at the bottom of the dark, cold, lonely sea gets a little uncomfortable after a while. By the time we get to the final three tracks, I'm wore out. Also by the 8th track, I feel like the band has shown its whole hand. This certainly isn't a fatal drawback, by I'm certainly not going to put this album on repeat.

There is some really nice stuff on this album. If you like arty metal and are looking for something new, this is probably a good pickup. It's somewhere between a 3 and a 4 star album. However, related artist Grayceon is a bit better in my opinion and I just gave them a 4 star rating. And I'm not sure it would be an excellent part of "any prog rock collection." Prog metal maybe. It's possible I could bump up the rating in the future.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

2 stars When I found this album around in prog archives, I thought I should give it try. It's not a bad album, but many times it falls down to a low level, especially in the second part of the album.

"The Ichthyologist" sounds a lot like, thanks to the fuzzy and heavy guitars and the desperate sounding vocals( many times it sounds like " System Of A Down", music from the bottom of an ancient ocean,or a deep, deep hole in the earth. The first track is the best one of the album, "Panthalassa". Absolutely love the guitars, so crude and violent, the drums really give the sensation of archaic. Even the second track is really good, longer than the first one, even this one is violent, aggressive in many points, calm in other. The two following tracks are very mellow, like all the second part of the album, and not really worth the mention for me.

"Throwing a donner party" is another great song, really worth the listen, with a catchy chorus, always being faithful to their more aggressive style.

The second part of the album is REALLY disappointing, I could barely finish the whole thing. Is it just me, or are Giant Squid not so good in writing ballads and mellow songs? Anyway, I didn't like it at all, in one word: Boring!

In conclusion it's a good album, with nice ideas, but even bad ones. I know they could have done a much better work.

 Metridium Field by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.60 | 28 ratings

Metridium Field
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Anything goes!

That must be the main slogan used by the artists here to fully explore their creativity. The result is a mesmerizing album that explores all areas between the diverse extremes of post-hardcore, eclectic prog and ethereal pop music. I admit, sometimes it's difficult to follow what they are up to. It's a concept album based on a graphic novel from front man Aaron John Gregory. The album takes you from one scene to another and you are bound to tumble from one surprise into another.

It sure takes a couple of listens to fully grasp the range of styles on parade here. Aaron Gregory has a versatile voice with a range between Tom Waits gruffness to an expressive emotional wail that fans of Hammill and VDGG will probably appreciate. One moment you're in Isis atmospheres, then again in Neurosis walls of sound, next it's a gentle violin with the light female voices from Jackie Perez Gratz. Also Anneke Van Giersbergen performs on one track. (Well she's all over the place these days so that's no surprise.) She does a great performance on Sevengill, a bizarre duet with Aaron that is exemplary for this album's eccentricity.

The rich diversity of this album might be the very reason it has taken Giant Squid more then a year to get a record deal: it must be just impossible to market. It's certainly not metal. It has post-metal influences but most of the songs are very quiet and melancholic, almost folksy in a way. It's way too weird for hardcore youngsters, too ambitious for alternative rock fans and it's not prog in any traditional sense of the world. However it might appeal to prog audiences for its eclectic range of styles, the wide array of instruments (trumpet, oboe, flute, violin) and the concept album angle. We always like that don't we!?

We should certainly thank Translation Loss records for supporting a commercial release of this wonderful album (almost a year since it was finished and the band distributed a number of copies themselves). It's become a nice packaging with some inventive artwork, different from the sea star picture here. It's a mutated hand with eye-sockets as fingers now. Could have been a Gentle Giant artwork I'd say. It's no coincidence this band is called Giant Octopus isn't it?

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Indeed, vocals are quite strange. They really reminds me Peter Hammill from Godbluff album, also trying to do his best and has unique voice. And it works, somehow. In fact, I'm still confused and don't know what to think, if it's good, or bad. Which is probably good. Music itself is dissonant, intentionally (not by accident), but as it is, works great his singing. I have to say that when I first heard this, I was shocked and annoyed by many things here. But after few listening, I have to say that it's worthy to give it a chance. As with some other albums, first song can repel you with its aggressiveness. But album itself is ranging from calm (Sutterville, Mormon) songs to death metal soaked ones.

4(-), this record is like haunting pleasure. I like it, just as I would enjoy dangerous-to-life situation.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 2009 occurs to be a strange year for my perception of music: favourite bands frequently fail (LACRIMOSA), bands I couldn't get into release awesome works (MASTODON), new discoveries appear on the horizon (AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE), and so on. But bands whose debuts/previous albums were in my top-lists some years ago, seem to fail me on a regular basis :(

There's nothing criminally wrong with this album, it's pretty listenable and groovy. But it's totally pale when compared to "Metridium Fields". Melodies are bleak, perfomace is average, some songs are too metal-directed, and only "Dead Man Slough" caught me the first week I heard the album. I was returning to it since then, three or four times, but sorry, I didn't like what GS are becoming. It's still a good record, but this time is an ordinary Post-Metal stuff with some intersting leanings, while GS' debut was amazingly experimental in the full meaning of this word. Nuff said.

 The Ichthyologist by GIANT SQUID album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 59 ratings

The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Sgt. Smiles

5 stars Music for the end of days.

With their self-released 2nd full lenght album, Giant Squid have themselves a masterpiece of exotic metal. While catagorizing their brand of music proves to be difficult, The Ichthyoligist is nothing short of immense. Elements of doom carry over from their first album in a lesser quantity, and the songwiting and raw texture are taken to the next level. Every track is practically a mini-epic in my mind, flowing perfectly from brutal to peaceful, delicate to explosive, droning to climactic, etc. Giant Squid have an earthiness quality that is hard to find in Math Rock/Doom/Sludge, something technically superior music is usually incapable of capturing. All of the instruments are blended to perfection on this album, and nothing is lacking. The Ichthyologist is an expected improvement on Metridium Fields, powerful and peerless!

1)Panthalassa has more interesting drumming than all of their debut album, and like the song, starts off quirky and ends in a wave of intensity.

2) La Brea Tar Pits (which I remember visiting as a child) has a grungy/sludge feel that intertwines softer, more elegant passages with some ugly distorted guitar riffs. The outro takes creepy banjo music to a level not heard since 'Deliverance'.

3) Sutterville is all beauty no brutal. Great melodies, fantastic cello and piano, lovely music.

4) Dead Man Slough starts off mellow and catchy, but eventually leads to something heavy, then comes full-circle toward a soft end.

5) Throwing A Donner Party At Sea rocks hard and fast(by Giant Squid standards) right from the get-go. Some very gritty bass accompanied by very gritty growling make this song a beast.

6) Sevengill is one of the more powerful and awe-inspiring songs I've ever heard. In just over 7 minutes you are transported from something sad and beautiful to the land of gutteral anguish. One of those songs that gets the neck hairs upright.

7) Mormon Island's tranquility is almost necessary after the previous 2 tracks. Equal parts nice and simple, with a hint of sadness.

8) Blue Linckia has both superb change-ups and fantastic lyrics, finishing off in a doomy fashion. Once again, transition from light to dark is ever-present.

9) Emerald Bay is similar in nature to Sutterville or Mormon Island, being a rather calm track, but with almost psychadelic guitar work closing the song, reminding me of early- Metallica melodic pieces.

10) Rubicon Wall has a good mix of all the elements that make up any GS song. Slow and organic in parts, upbeat in others, and always heavy.

Simply put, there is not a bad moment in the 60+ minutes of music on The Ichthyologist. I've heard it called Mood Metal, which seems fitting to me, considering the dark and heavy mood it conjures, regardless of the song. The music is both ugly and pristine, something I love, and something few bands can pull off. What seals the deal, however, are the vocals. I've never heard any bany in their respective genre harmonize as oddly or as beautifully as they do, and, much like the music, they are able to find the perfect balance in light and dark through singing style. For a relatively obscure band, Giant Squid has quickly become one of my all-time favorites, and I couldn't be more excited for what's to come.

Many bands are louder, many are more sinister, some are more progressive, and others crazier, but none...I repeat NONE, are heavier. In fact, I consider The Ichthyologist to be the 'heaviest' album I've ever heard.

Disturbing never felt so good.

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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