I have a confession to make: I didn’t know Howling Giant’s true sound before I picked up this album.
Yes, I caught a glimpse of them at the Descendants of Crom festival in Pittsburgh last year, and yes, I was familiar with their cover of AIC’s “Rooster,” but I was so focused on their cover songs that I never bothered to check out their previous albums.
And I’m not exactly alone.
Their cover of “Rooster” has more than 700,000 Spotify streams, and their renditions of Rock touchstones like “Godzilla” (Blue Öyster Cult) and “Shoot to Thrill” (AC/DC) are exciting interpretations of the originals.
But when I saw they topped the October Doom Charts, I knew I had to give them a proper listen. And I’m so glad I did.
Glass Future is stunning.
About Howling Giant
Howling Giant is a Nashville-based trio composed of:
- Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
- Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
- Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals
Glass Future Album Review
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Release Date: October 27, 2023
Track 1: Hourglass
If it wasn’t for the vocal sample from one of the most famous episodes from The Twilight Zone, “Hourglass” would feel like an atmospheric interlude from A Perfect Circle.
Track 2: Siren Song
“Siren Song” establishes the powerful Glass Future sound: an ecstatic combination of King Buffalo’s guitar growl, Green Lung’s energetic guitars, Ian Blurton’s knack for Progressive explosions, and Caustic Casanova’s unpredictability.
“Siren Song” is bright, hopeful, and inspiring, and although it has a primary lick that anchors us throughout the song, this touchpoint is occasionally modified and rushed, giving the entire track an exhilarating instability.
Track 3: Aluminum Crown
For the briefest moment, “Aluminum Crown” calls to mind Smashing Pumpkin’s “Siva” (from Gish)—but that connection is lost once the rest of the band comes in (though you can still hear it in that riff buried in the mix).
“Aluminum Crown” is another complex song, and although it features less Prog and Psychedelia than other songs on the album, it might still be a little too short to have its full intended emotional impact—which is something I rarely say.
Track 4: Hawk In A Hurricane
OK, buckle up. I have a lot to say about “Hawk In A Hurricane.”
“Hawk In A Hurricane” gets back to aggressive rockin’ with a dash of Prog, Psychedelia, and even the smallest dose of Industrial Metal (thanks to that squealing guitar).
Like much of Howling Giant’s work, “Hawk In A Hurricane” is hard to pin down with one influence or comparison, but perhaps the most apt would be Coheed and Cambria, for all of its melodic catchiness and complex riffage.
And then there are the lyrics, which are stunning visually driven:
I’ll raise my glass to the hawk in a hurricane.
With its beautiful bridge and lullaby-esque outro, “Hawk In A Hurricane” is an unforgettable highpoint on Glass Future.
Track 5: First Blood of Melchor
Running just under three minutes, “First Blood of Melchor” is a quick, ferocious Prog-injected track with as much attitude as Torche but with the musicality of Baroness. In simple terms: “First Blood of Melchor” is three minutes of guitar sex.
Track 6: Glass Future
Like “Hawk In A Hurricane,” the title track is, in a word, gorgeous. With its luscious melodies and keys, “Glass Future” could have extended on forever without any complaints from me.
Track 7: Tempest, and the Liar’s Gateway
The intro to Track 7 sounds like a Sergeant Thunderhoof song, especially with the guitar tones (including in the lead guitar, which screeches into the fray).
After the slower start, “Tempest, and the Liar’s Gateway” builds to an exciting conclusion—definitely worth the wait.
Track 8: Sunken City
You’ve been warned: The melodies in “Sunken City” are infectious, and you may very well wind up singing this song hours after your first listen.
Track 9: Juggernaut
Like “First Blood of Melchor,” “Juggernaut” is steeped in attitude and Metal aggression. You’ll hear notes of King Buffalo in those chanted, soaring vocals and delicious instrumental melodies, but the track’s greatest charm exists in its unpredictability.
Track 10: There’s Time Now
Well, Howling Giant certainly knows how to end an album. Massively cosmic and beautifully arranged, “There’s Time Now” is as expansive as Clouds Taste Satanic but as emotionally fragile as Sunny Day Real Estate. This is the perfect conclusion to a fantastic album.
Final Thoughts On Glass Future
Final Score: 10/10
Standout Tracks: “Juggernaut,” “Siren Song,” “Hawk In A Hurricane,” and “Glass Future”
Pros: For all of its frenetic energy and unpredictability, Glass Future is a charming, inviting record with plenty to love. It contains Doom-laden low ends, Stoner Metal riffs, Progressive song structures, and a dash of Psychedelic Rock for good measure.
And although its shimmering musicality will alienate Doom fanatics, the albums accessibility will help the Nashville natives shepherd in a new wave of eager fans, hungry for more.
Cons: There aren’t many albums that seem flawless on the first listen, but Glass Future is as carefully crafted as they come. No wonder it nabbed the top spot on the October 2023 Doom Charts!