When Giant Sleep came to be in 2012, it was an unlikely but ultimately fruitful liaison: Founded by guitarists Patrick Hagmann and Markus Ruf after the demise of melodic death metallers Fear My Thoughts together with former Destruction singer Thomas Rosenmerkel, the band became an outlet for the members´ passion for all things classic rock without shallow “vintage” or retro” sentiments.
Consequently, their first, self-titled full-length became “demo of the month” in opinion-leading German magazine Rock Hard in 2014, followed three years later by label debut “Move a Mountain” (Eucalypdisc) while the group kept gigging selectively with international acts such as ASG or Dead Lord and at festivals, also replacing Ruf with Tobias Glanzmann (ex-Zatokrev) and further honing their craft.
With new material collected during four years of free and easy songwriting, the Swiss-German quintet recorded their third album “Grounded to the Sky” completely live within two days – practically no overdubs! – at Little Creek Studios in Gelterkinden/CH together with producer V.O. Pulver (Destruction, Pro-Pain et al). Vividly capturing the musicians´ live energy, the nine tracks display Giant Sleep´s widest range of tastes, colours, moods and sounds yet.
As suggested by the title, “Grounded to the Sky” is a work of dichotomies, with opener ´Silent Field´ displaying both vulnerability and strength before the epic title track sees Hagmann and Glanzmann riffing it out with legs apart, creating bedazzling twin harmonies as they go. Whereas the eight-plus-minute ´The Elixir´ takes the listener on a cinematic journey, the tight and relatively short ´Good Boy´ alternately trots and struts in Soundgarden´s footsteps. Elsewhere, the hypnotic ´Shadow Walker´ and the fevered rhythms of ´Sour Milk´ highlight the outstandingly dynamic production while the Janus-headed ´Siren Song´ oscillates between weightless and sonically powerful passages befitting its lyrical heft.
With the soaring ´Davos´, Giant Sleep wax poetical on eco-political terrain yet dodge clichéd finger-pointing just like ´Cemetery Story´ doesn´t come even remotely close to conventional stoner or blues rock, although drawing from both. So what´s not to love about “Grounded to the Sky”? Let´s hand over to singer Thomas for some final words: There are three meanings to the title like in a spiritual gospel song: heavenly salvation in an esoteric way, “going north” where there is no slavery but freedom and lastly “higher” in a psychedelic way...