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Thorn of Thrones

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Album Review

Don't be fooled by its oddly "black metal" title; Thorn of Thrones doesn't see Giant Brain swapping the predominant Kraut rock influences found on their fine 2007 debut, Plume, for cacophonous Satan worship on this, their second long-player for Small Stone. Not even close, actually, and, if anything, charter bandmembers Andy Sutton (bass, programming, keyboards), Philip Durr (guitars, effects, drums, vocals), and Al Sutton (loops, programming), sound even more committed to their novel musical experiments than before — just retaining enough of their classic rock backgrounds (with Five Horse Johnson, Don Caballero, and Big Chief) to produce notably un-robotic Kraut rock. Take opening number "Resentful Relentless," for example: its name may smack of Kraftwerk's "Europe Endless," but its driving analog drumbeat, stinging guitar leads, and warm Hammond organs have more in common with Deep Purple's "Highway Star." So too does the ensuing hypno-rocker "Gooser," but other songs engage in more ethereal and atmospheric pursuits, including the dreamy sway of "Empyrian" (featuring rare vocals) and "Drowner," the immersive electronics of "Asian Love Song What?" and "Space Mannequin," or the Cinemascope soundtrack snippets of "Phoner," "Water-Bored," and the self-explanatory "This is Where the Robot Escapes His Evil Captor, Finds Raygun, Plots Revenge." Because of their compositional variety and exploratory daring, it's fair to assert that these tracks represent Giant Brain's true coming of age as a proper band, instead of some glorified side project, while proving that one need not ride on the actual Autobahn to feel the rhythm of its curves (and living in the Motor City probably helps).


Genre: Alternative

Years Active:

Arguably the first Krautrock band to emerge from Detroit, MI, Giant Brain's expansive, experimental electro-prog was inspired by the likes of Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk...and a painting that eventually came to grace their 2007 debut album, Plume. Interestingly, bandmembers Andy Sutton (bass, programming, keyboards), Philip Durr (guitars, effects, drums, vocals), and Al Sutton (loops, programming) possessed previous musical experience working in stoner and hard rock bands such...
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Thorn of Thrones, Giant Brain
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