There is so much that is right with this two-song split by Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof. Firstly, can you say epic??? A forty-minute runtime between two bands supplying a song each. Do the math. Secondly, I know of Howling Giant already and they rule. Thirdly, I did not know Sergeant Thunderhoof going into this but now that I do, they rule as well. And fourth and finally, Ripple Music rule. Or have you not been paying attention to every single album they’ve released?!?!?
But I digress.
Turned to Stone Chapter II follows up Chapter I: Enter Galactic Wasteland, released in January and featuring Spacetrucker and Mr Bison and a plethora of tracks (Check it out here), but goes even more grand with less because who needs six tracks when you can just say what you want in two?!?! Regardless of the tracks included, the goal of this project is to get some artists together to interpret a piece of art musically. In this case, Nashville’s Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof from Bath, UK took the concept one step further by collaborating to create two separate but ultimately cohesive bodies of music that tell the story of Sara-Jane Swettenham’s painting of the legendary Japanese swordsmiths Masamune and Muramasa. The results are, to put it lightly, astounding.
Howling Giant kicks things off with “Masamune” which is part Desert Rawk and part Space Rawk with grinding guitars that lead the way over the course of this sprawling journey traversing a bevy of even more styles that the Nashville outfit tackle with ease. Tom Polzine and Zach Wheeler and Sebastian Baltes crush with a synchronicity and symmetry that can handle the onslaught of time changes that sound flawless and seamless within this almost twenty minute giant.
Sergeant Thunderhoof’s contribution is similarly crushing with broad swooning verses from Dan Flitcroft who does the most, ahem, howling here especially heading towards the conclusion of their leviathan-esque dirge, “Muramasa”. A rumbling, grumbling beastie led by Jim Camp’s bass to begin with these dirgy lines that ooze like molasses over the sonic canvas lead into scorching guitar work from Mark Sayer with Darren Ashman keeping the beat. And just when you think the song has reached its’ inevitable conclusion, it ascends to a higher plane and proceeds to deliver a sonic walloping for another ten minutes!
It’s almost impossible to put into words the majesty of what these two tracks represent but at the end of the day, they both perfectly capture the similarly majestic nature of the image that Sara-Jane Swettenham has created. And if you need even more visual interpretation, Sergeant Thunderhoof recently released an accompanying animated mini-movie by Jon Birch of “Muramasa” which you can view here.
Turned to Stone Chapter II lands on August 7th through your go-to rifflord label, Ripple Music. Pre-orders are happening now and can be checked out by clicking here or here. For the latest albums from Ripple Music, head here. For more on Howling Giant, go here, here, and here. For Sergeant Thunderhoof, head here for the tunes and here, here, or here for the socials. And most importantly, keep up with artist Sara-Jane Swettenham through her official site here, buy her stuff here, and follow along through her various social media pages which can be found by clicking here or here.