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Giant Squid: The Ichthyologist

Giant Squid: The Ichthyologist

Progressive Rock/Metal
Rating: 5.0/5.0

Although they're probably best described as progressive rock/metal, Giant Squid is another one of those bands that's hard to lump into any particular genre. The Sacramento based unit whose first two releases were nothing if not diverse has pulled out all the stops on their latest offering 'The Ichthyologist.' This time out the band uses a slew of guest musicians and vocalists to create a meaningful, very interesting and sometimes depressing concept album.

'The Ichthyologist' is based on a graphic novel of the same name, by the band's own Aaron Gregory. The story is best explained by Gregory himself: "Through the thoughts of the album's protagonist, a man stripped of his humanity and left with nothing but the sea in front of him, comes a story about adapting in inhuman ways to survive the shock of human loss and total emotional tragedy, becoming something else entirely in the process." Deep stuff indeed.

Female vocals, violins, an oboe and more are all in there and Giant Squid has done a masterful job of putting it all together to achieve their unique sound. It should also be noted that with everything they have going on here; they don't let all of the added instrumentation water down their music or take away from its edginess. While they don't really sound like any other band in particular, they most remind of fellow Californians Hammers Of Misfortune, who coincidentally released one of my personal favorite CD's of 2008. Bits and pieces of several songs remind me of some of my past favorites; for example, the nicely done violins in 'Throwing A Donner Party At Sea' had me craving some vintage Skyclad.

'The Ichthyologist' commands your attention from the very first listen, and like most good prog albums it gets even better with each listen. There's so much going on here that you're bound to find something new and refreshing each time you hear it. Giant Squid is one of those bands: either you get it or you don't. If you don't need to lie on a therapist's couch after listening to 'The Ichthyologist' you're in for an instant classic you won't soon forget.


In Short

'The Ichthyologist' commands your attention from the very first listen, and like most good prog albums it gets even better with each listen. There's so much going on here that you're bound to find something new and refreshing each time you hear it.

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