Red Giant

Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound

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Somewhere between a lonely desert highway and the distant reaches of outer space burns the Red Giant: Cleveland, OH's own purveyors of riff-heavy space rock. While some stoner rock albums purport to be about songs (not often), others are cut to simply rock out, and others still serve merely as background music for getting reeeaally baked, rarely do all these motivations collide with such stunning and satisfying results as on 1999's Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound. Maybe this uniqueness stems from Red Giant's geographic isolation -- Cleveland having no significant space/stoner rock scene to speak of -- but it may also result from the band's nearly decade-long experience prior to recording this, their first CD (an earlier album, 1995's massively collectible Psychoblaster and the Misuse of Power, was available only on cassette). Maybe it's the fact that, with no (audible) bassist in sight, the twin guitars of the ubiquitous duo, Damien and Alex, are free to roam, weaving in and out, through and around each other to create a brain-melding spin cycle of religious riffing ecstasy (see "Saturn Missile Battery" for maximum eye-crossing results). Maybe it's because listeners seeking unfettered space rock excess need look no further than the swirling vortex of "1960 Starchief," the slow-crunching tension of "Kill for Condors," or the brilliantly compact, single-worthy "Blue-White Supergiant," and those in search of infectious grooves and lysergic psychedelics will find them in abundance on additional standouts like "Devils of the Fall," "Pervert," and the epic bludgeoning of "Ring of the Acid Pope." For these reasons and a few other intangibles (their label's collapse shortly after this album's release, the general sense of mystery surrounding the band, alien abduction theories?), Red Giant's Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound is unquestionably one of the finest spaced-out stoner rock releases of the 1990s, or any other decade.

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