When I first looked up the band name, I was directed to a Brazilian folk metal band with an affinity for alcohol rather than the quintet from Birmingham. Thankfully their style is far more aggressive and more fun for me to listen to, along with having far more pertinent themes to contend with.
The opening song and title track “Sleeping Giant” is more of a surreal intro where layers of guitars slowly build to a crescendo that throws us headlong into “The Bastard” where Jamie Smith’s deep growl is punctuated by Phil Sheldon’s precisely timed snare shots over guitarists Daniel McCarthy and Alex Dutton heavy riffs and bass player Adam Bayliss’s bottom end.
The twin guitars work really well together on “Tollund Man”, complementing each other while still standing enough apart to keep their sound distinct and allowing the odd bass solo to rumble through.
“Golden Snake” has a more uplifting, up-tempo feel with the manic runs on the kick drums and airy guitar riffs combined with the clean vocals giving it a lighter edge than when the death vocals are used, “Miasma” follows suit combining the death and clean vocals over Phil’s hectic footwork and catchy guitar riffs.
Slowing things down with some intricate guitar work and rolling drums is “The Tempest”, where a moderate vocal cadence behind the drums lets them do all the heavy lifting.
Keeping things heavy but with an added groove used by the guitar and followed by the vocals, “731” ebbs and flows through its paces before a heavy bass rumble over lightly tapped cymbals opens “Nebula” before the guitars run away and the vocals chase them for all they are worth.
While metalcore screeching has been employed on the album thus far, it feels more prevalent on “Shadow of the King”, as does the tremolo picking on the guitars.
They end the album with the heavy and intense “Delacroix”, which still has some rather mellow moments filled with fascinating bass runs, before we are greeted by 20s of silence then a bassy instrumental where the guitars are allowed to wail and whine to their hearts’ delight.
A good album, where more the more you listen, the more subtle and interesting pieces of music become apparent.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)