Last Giant – Album Review

Last Giant has recently released its sophomore album “Memory of the World.” Check out the the opening song “Living in Photographs” here:

Last Giant began as a solo project by bandleader Ryan Heise (ex- System and Station) who collaborated with a group of touring musicians to take his “Heavy Habitat” debut album out on the road. He has since teamed up with Palmer Cloud on bass and Matt Wiles on drums to create “Memory of The World.”

The opening song “Living in Photographs” starts with a techno greeting before diving into the alternative rock sound that fans have come to expect from Last Giant. The riff is poppy and fun sounding, perfect for upbeat car rides. The chorus is catchy and the vocals by Heise are top notch, coming together to form a proper introduction to the album. The song is about the social media lifestyle many people live and how everyone is living in the pics they post online. “Diamond Decade” follows up with a heavy riff that is edgier and rocks harder than you would expect, truly being a representation of their louder inspirations such as Led Zeppelin.

“The Comedian” features some interesting keys in the beginning that soon delves into their trademark Jane’s Addiction style grunge with a breakdown featuring satisfying drums rolls that play off the guitar-work well.  The next song “Toys for the Devil” has a very 70s groove riff that can make anyone start head-bobbing and the song’s guitar solo adds substance to the overall album that has so far lacked any standout solos.

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Photo via Last Giant

After the four opening rock songs, “Inventory” slows things down with thought-provoking lyrics and a sentimental melody. This song shows Last Giant can go beyond the expected rockers by adding textures to their recordings and allowing their instruments to propel their message forward. Next up is “Drastic Plastic,” the fastest composition that is anchored on a strong rhythm section that carries everything along at quick pace. This track seems to have punk-inspired influences but mixed in a 90s alternative atmosphere.

“In the Calm” continues on with the trademark Last Giant sound of heavy groovers layered with clear, and determined vocals. The songwriting follows the pop format of catchy hooks yet has unexpected twists and turns that are reminiscent of the best progressive acts. Also, the end of the song is intense and one of the most aggressive performance heard so far. “Coverz” has the most bizarre opener with distorted vocals over a couple of guitars playing. It’s a welcome surprise and offers a change of pace to keep listeners on their toes. This hybrid track is part a loud-banger and part introspective toward the end, and illustrates their progressive influences well.

The electro vibes kick in to start “Blood on the Road” when suddenly the slow pounding drums introduce the guitars that sound straight from Soundgarden with head-banging riffs along the hard-jamming drum and bass. At this point the album has already proved its worth and any additional songs of high quality are just the cherry on top. “All the Same” features passionate screaming that demonstrate Last Giant’s dedication to their craft while the closer “Saint Paul” brings it all to a close with a bluesy riff that underlines the narrative about the murder of innocent Philando Castile at the hands of police officers. The song ends the album with an explosive finale.

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Photo via Last Giant

Mixing engineer Paul Malinowski (Shiner, The Life and Times, Riddle of Steel) and co-producer Larry Crane (Sleater-Kinney, Pavement, Tape Op) did a phenomenal job at putting the great talent that is Last Giant and making the instruments and vocals stand out while blending in. “Memory of the World” is a recommended listen to anyone who enjoys heavy jams and raucous riffs fronted by a legitimate singer who knows how to pen songs and bring us the rock.

To stay up to date with everything Last Giant, check them out on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and their official website.

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