Giant Squid - Minoans review




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Reviewer:
8.0

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7.83
Band: Giant Squid
Album: Minoans
Release date: October 2014


01. Minoans
02. Thera
03. Sir Arthur Evans
04. Palace Of Knossos
05. Sixty Foot Waves
06. Mycenaeans
07. The Pearl And The Parthenon
08. Phaistos Disc


When looking at the sonic landscape that is post metal, Giant Squid have always been one of the more unique acts. As such, an album inspired by one of the most unique past cultures we know of makes for a great fit.

Minoans is their third full length and - similarly to the others - very determined on its theme. An ancient Greek (actually before that even, but please forgive this inaccuracy so I can make my point) culture lost to time makes for an epic story (in the truest sense of the word), which Giant Squid capitalize on mostly with their production and vocal performance. Any form of growls are (with the exception of a single line at the end of "Sixty Foot Waves") entirely gone; vocals lines are very drawn out and are usually pretty buried in the mix. The last point can be made for most sonic aspects, as also guitars seem very muddied and almost hidden behind cello and synths. Bass generally shines when given the forefront, with the ominous bass line in "Sir Arthur Evans" or the fun intro of "Sixty Foot Waves". Those two tracks, along with "The Pearl And The Parthenon", which starts out as a somber love song before another great ominous riff at the end, make for the most unique among the tracks and are thus the most memorable. "Sixty Foot Waves" in particular is the definite highlight on the record; it's fun, flows incredibly well and showcases the best vocal lines. "Mycenaeans" is (again thematically appropriately) perhaps the most "aggressive" song on the record. "Thera" gets a compliment for its main chorus riff and the rare guitar solo at the end.

Writing this, it's hard to even talk about the other songs much, as I can barely recall motifs, rhythms or melodies. Much like when it comes to an ancient culture, actually recalling events can be hard. The buried production just kind of muddies everything together. This, while thematically appropriate, is inferior when it comes to enjoyment. Minoans sees much less of a focus on different ideas than their previous full length, and as such ends up being way less memorable and more niche in appeal.

But this thematic determination also shows a few cracks: While a song like "Sir Arthur Evans" with its shoveling and ominous bass line makes for an interesting story (and a great mix up in the track list when it comes), in the end I find its place on the album questionable. Why show the culture being dug up, before the catastrophe even fully happened? Why is the rediscovery of Minoan culture the ominous song, when it would be more appropriate for "Thera" or "Phaistos Disc" to be that? The latter similarly feels out of place: "The Pearl And The Parthenon" would've made for a much more satisfying ending.

The greatest weakness of Minoans in the end is its lack of variety. While this greatly fits the theme of an epic song about a lost kingdom, the greatest strength of their last album was exactly this variety. In the end, while every song here is very good in its own right, half of them just do not stick out enough to be discernible from each other. Minoans was the first album I heard of Giant Squid and it definitely was the reason I didn't give them much thought in the beginning. While I can appreciate it now for what it is (and "Sir Arthur Evans" and "Sixty Foot Waves" get regular spins for me) and actually listening to it is very enjoyable, I would not recommend it as an introduction to Giant Squid's music.

Written by DeliciousDishes | 28.10.2020


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 6 users
03.11.2020 - 13:04
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Hey, I remember reading about these guys in my childhood history books.
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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03.11.2020 - 17:43
DeliciousDishes
annoying
Written by RaduP on 03.11.2020 at 13:04

Hey, I remember reading about these guys in my childhood history books.

Call yourself lucky then cause we really didn't. And tbh it's one of the most interesting cultures of that era: almost pacifist, matriarchal, the fashion, etc.
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You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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03.11.2020 - 17:49
musclassia
I thought I recognized this artwork - I did listen to this album back when it came out. I think I remember finding it interesting, but liking the ideas a bit more than the execution. Are there any other Giant Squid albums you would recommend over this one?
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03.11.2020 - 17:56
DeliciousDishes
annoying
Written by musclassia on 03.11.2020 at 17:49

I thought I recognized this artwork - I did listen to this album back when it came out. I think I remember finding it interesting, but liking the ideas a bit more than the execution. Are there any other Giant Squid albums you would recommend over this one?

All the other full lengths are easier to get into. Ichthyologist is amazing for mixing it up all the time (every song is fun in its own way), Metridium Fields is very consistent and super atmospheric. The former is more fun and the latter more melancholic, though both of them cause both emotions really.
Monsters in the Creek has some cute ideas in it, it's maybe a bit unrefined. Overall similar in quality to Minoans I'd say, but more approachable. I find Cenotes to be their weakest material at this point, it suffers from the same things as Minoans without the positives.
----
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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03.11.2020 - 18:11
musclassia
Written by DeliciousDishes on 03.11.2020 at 17:56

Written by musclassia on 03.11.2020 at 17:49

I thought I recognized this artwork - I did listen to this album back when it came out. I think I remember finding it interesting, but liking the ideas a bit more than the execution. Are there any other Giant Squid albums you would recommend over this one?

All the other full lengths are easier to get into. Ichthyologist is amazing for mixing it up all the time (every song is fun in its own way), Metridium Fields is very consistent and super atmospheric. The former is more fun and the latter more melancholic, though both of them cause both emotions really.
Monsters in the Creek has some cute ideas in it, it's maybe a bit unrefined. Overall similar in quality to Minoans I'd say, but more approachable. I find Cenotes to be their weakest material at this point, it suffers from the same things as Minoans without the positives.


Nice, Ichthyologist sounds most tempting, will put it down for future listening if I ever run out of 2020 music
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