Four men huddle together in an well-worn booth at 123 Pleasant Street. Hill Giant vocalist Greg Simons, bassist Carl Lamb, and guitarist Kim Ambro join me before their set to discuss their debut full length Stonebreaker. When asked about the first impression Morgantown's Hill Giant wanted to make with their debut Greg admits, "I want them to feel us, I want them to feel the energy of the music. To take the ride, take the journey. Listen to what's being said, if you've ever been through struggles in your life this one is for you." While Carl doesn't mince words, "We're here to fun fuck your ear holes." When asked about the sonic influences behind the music of Stonebreaker Kip elaborates, "When I was writing this album I tried to make sure that the whole time the music drove forward. So this should be a good driving album, a good fuckin' album, a good album to party to, I just tried to make sure you feel that driving force. It never bounces to the left or right, always forward, always relentless." Carl wraps up appropriately with, "Grab a beer, sit down and chill, get up and dance, do whatever you want, pack one up, because we're here to have fun."
Stonebreaker is a stoner friendly, but not to be trifled with, skull crusher of an album. The opening track "Southern Sky" sets the table for groovy, southern metal. Kip Ambro's bluesy, fitting for a roadhouse guitar tone shines through during a slithering introduction that submerges the listener into the frier. Picking up the pace, the riffs transition into knee slapping, can't keep your head still goodness. "Southern Sky" is a seductive ditty that lures the listener into the dirty-dirty to come.
The album's title track "Stonebreaker" is a song sure to get the ladies in the crowd moving. Sexy riffage accompanies a smooth, yet emotionally charged vocal performance that takes center stage. A song that would be great with a doobie on a back road or a cold beer on your porch. "Stonebreaker" is a highlight of the album and an absolutely must play in the live Hill Giant set.
"Rough Rider" brings the heaviest grooves of the record, a song perfect for the fan with a beard and a Harley. A song rich with slow and low riffs and a driving pace, the listener may find it difficult to stand still. The song voted by me to be most likely to instigate a ruckus, "Rough Rider" is sure to satisfy those with a nastier pallet.
Stonebreaker has so many surprises, from psychedelic arrangements guaranteed to put the listener in a trance to moments of sonic savagery that will motivate the crowd to start moving bodies. It's rare that a debut album can manipulate a wide spectrum of blues, rock, grunge, and sludge successfully into a cohesive sound. Stylistically Hill Giant stands tall among their peers, Stonebreaker is a must for metal lovers looking to unwind after the grind or get the fucking party started.
Stonebreaker is available now on Bandcamp.