“What a pile of shite” I thought. I’d heard the title track, loved it and then immediately committed myself to reviewing this album. The first few listens proved uninspiring, “Why have they put five of the same tracks on an album?”
It is a good job that I persevered in the name of reviewing the album fairly as if you actually listen to the album (and by listening I mean actually giving it your full attention) you will be rewarded by a challenging work of art that takes you on the journey of a dying star. So set yourself aside some time, turn up the volume and immerse yourself in sound for 40 minutes.
Red Giant is one of those albums that really need to be listened to from beginning to end; it is a concept album after all. The tracks tend to overlap as they change and the whole thing really is a pummelling, unrelenting, psychedelic trip.
What really strikes me is the production. The sound is dense. Not muddy with all the instruments squashed up in a big mess of frequencies, but like it has been mixed down expertly and then crushed by the power of a dying star. The instruments feel so close together without losing their individual space. Listen to the beginning of Black Hole and you’ll feel trapped and isolated by the siren type wah and swooshing flange; almost like that claustrophobic fear you felt as Dallas traversed the ship searching for the Xenomorph in the film Aliens. The moments when the instruments move out of the tightly held mix bring on some of the album’s highlights. Just hear the dual call and answer guitar parts towards the end of the title track, definitely a stand-out part of the album. When the drums are used they are insistent and driving. Even if it is just a time-keeping high-hat beat they maintain their presence and this adds to the feeling of movement (through the cosmos, if you will)
And that is it really, no track by track review as the whole album has a similar vibe throughout. It is one of those albums that sound the same throughout to start with, but you begin to get into it and realise how different the tracks actually are after you have absorbed every last second so many times that your familiarity just improves the experience. So if you have the time this album deserves then get into it. If you have a throwaway attitude to music and do not have the patience then this just will not be for you, but you’ll be missing out.