Kingdom of Giants - Every Wave of Sound
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Every Wave of Sound sees Sacramento's metal outfit Kingdom of Giants without their original claim to fame – clean vocalist Stephen Rezza. Every Wave of Sound consists of 11 tracks, each one filled with guitar shredding, enraged screams, tight drumming, and surprisingly, Dana Willax's nearly seamless transition into singing as well. On Every Wave of Sound, Willax manages to retain his earthquake screaming and breakneck speed, but sounds as if he has been singing his entire life, fluidly guiding the listener through unclean verses and unedited clean choruses.
The first track, “My Compromise”, begins with muted blast beats and guitar licks, expanding in volume as Willax wastes no time in silence, commanding the speakers, “Every wave of sound has been leading me in the right direction,” as shrieking lead guitars and crash cymbals back him up. The song feels more energized and cohesive compared to the band’s earlier works on Abominable. Willax’s clean singing is completely raw and almost sounds like a live recording, as every nuance in his voice is heard without the need for auto tune or reverb even.
“Obstacles”, is more melodic, featuring delayed guitar melodies and more clean singing from Willax. Still beefy in tone, Willax seems to merge his screaming and singing at some points, alternating between mere words, adding a hectic, unstructured feel to his vocals. The song is filled with string bending, compressed snare hits, and a delicate section of bells. Number three, “In Focus”, is a remixed version of an earlier single that had featured Stephen Rezza on clean vocals. For the album version, Willax takes over and sings the parts as if they were his own from the start. He is clearly unafraid to cement his role sole frontman for the band.
Track four, “Delusionist”, opens with a creepy piano line that exists primarily as a backdrop to the metal chugs that follow. Willax’s vocals are, as always, seemingly propelled by rocket fuel, as he projects himself with such rage and intensity that even the powerful music takes a step behind his vocal presence. “Delusionist” is similar to the first two tracks in tone, but is unique by featuring a solemn choir of voices ending the song. The fifth song is called “Voltage”, and is one of the standout tracks on the album. “Voltage” opens with a strange sequence of notes on a piano and bell, followed by relentless metal onslaught and Willax’s unavoidably intense vocals. “Voltage” is uniquely structured with tempo changes and many layers of guitar shredding.
"Hope" opens with a famous audio sample of Charlie Chaplin from The Great Dictator (1940); the sample is a moving humanitarian speech that adds a philosophical approach to Every Wave of Sound. Guitar melodies take precedence on this track, as reverb and clean tones are experimented with. The drumming is intricate and filled with softer snare rolls, lacking any aggressive cymbal crashes, until the band erupts into a powerful, anthemic section. The band provides an upbeat, pumping groove for Willax to scream more slowly, letting his notes stretch across the music. "Hope" ends with Chaplin’s voice, “So long as men die, liberty will never perish.”
Number seven, “Broken Ocean”, is perhaps the dirtiest and most staggered of the songs, as Willax’s distorted screams address environmental concerns. The song is more aggressively oriented, with bells and hard cymbal crashes. Willax’s screaming characterizes him at the end of his wit about this issue, seemingly. The music is, as always, filled with chugs and energetic guitar work from Red Martin. The song ends with guitar noise and Willax’s chopped up, gritty screaming. Track eight, “Vice Versa”, is similar to others, but manages to be interesting with a vocal discourse from Willax – he screams, “You’re now a silhouette. Once a mountain of a man, but you’re a little bitch,” and as Willax calls his enemy out, strange, sweeping electronic effects swoop through the speakers, adding an almost calming, or focusing effect to the breakdown that follows. “Vice Versa” closes with Willax’s distant screaming, “Don’t ever run from your fears.”
On the ninth song, “Guns and Girls”, Willax once again takes over the clean choruses that Rezza would have covered. “Guns and Girls” features a melodic guitar-plucking pattern in the outro that is a nice break from the consistent beatdown distortion used on every song. Number ten, “Griever”, opens with a piano intro as Willax carries the track in a more melodic direction, crooning in his clean singing more than other tracks. “Griever” is a track about Willax’s personal philosophy of confrontation towards death – he addresses the reaper, “You’ve taken my father and brother, and left my whole family alone..” as crunching guitars add power to his recitations. Willax is at his prime in this song, truly owning his vocal presence and merging it with the band’s many instruments.
The last track, “MJ Returns”, is more positive sounding than other tracks on the record. Previous clean vocalist Stephen Rezza is featured on this track, as his parts in the song are nearly impossible to replicate. It’s nice to hear his voice again, but Willax is more heavily featured this time around. As a final track, the ultimate buildup comes when Willax screams, “Put your trust in my voice,” backed by Rezza’s increasingly plaintive words, “And I know you fear the worst. And I know that you have a choice, so put your trust in my voice.” “MJ Returns” finishes with a pretty piano melody and distant vocals.
Every Wave of Sound is an energized piece of metal with a few well-done tricks up its sleeve, largely relying on passion and intensity to get its message across. Dana Willax does a superb job of assuming a multifaceted role as frontman, and the music seems to be more thought out than the band’s previous works. My suggestion for the band would be more experimentation with clean guitar tones or other instruments such as keyboards to vary their songs more, as some tracks on this record sound a bit too similar. Every Wave of Sound is a charismatic debut for the band.