This statement may be acknowledged as fact by only a small and select contingent of discerning musical enthusiasts, but no band short of perhaps West Virginia's Karma to Burn exudes a greater sense of mystique in conjunction with its uniquely recognizable, slightly skewed stoner metal aesthetic than Cleveland, OH's enigmatic Red Giant. Notoriously elusive and antisocial, the group's members have made a habit of emerging out of apparent hibernation every half-decade or so, always armed with a new collection of labyrinthine twin-guitar overtures as bruising as they are scintillating. And because they are a guitar band's guitar band by definition -- even though frontman Alex Perekrest is one hell of a singer -- it's no wonder that Red Giant prefer to mask their identities behind the grim iron helmet of "the Cosmic Welder," a Galactus-like mascot that, in one guise or another, has graced all of their album covers. In the case of their fourth full-length, 2010's Dysfunctional Majesty, said mascot stands triumphant over a throng of submissive lovelies in direct emulation of Kiss' classic Love Gun artwork, but all signs of lighthearted wit or wanting to "rock and roll all night and party every day" end right there, because when the needle hits the groove, Red Giant are all business -- heavy, indomitable business. And "business" highlights include a bristling, razor-riffed "Never Touch the Lens"; an intense guitar-slinging master class taught by the instrumental "Weird Problems"; a comparatively laid-back "Million Point Buck," whose second half harks back to the lysergic space rock of 1999's epochal Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound; and a simply colossal achievement in "It Doesn't Seem Right," where highly atypical songwriting hooks collide with the usual implacable shredding for one of the most immediate numbers of Red Giant's career. On the other hand, and on occasion, the band is brought down to earth by significantly less intriguing fare like the stutter-paced "Easy, Killer" (which oddly echoes Metallica's St. Anger misfires), the laggardly paced "Silver Shirley" (which finally kicks some dust near its conclusion), and the Corrosion of Conformity sound-alike "Lamentations." But Dysfunctional Majesty's heights are entirely more prevalent than its rare depths, or else the spirited and stunningly note-perfect cover of AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock" that closes the LP wouldn't feel so out of place and, well, all too human. And of course humanity is still a matter of conjecture where Red Giant's extraterrestrial, two-pronged guitar attack is concerned…only the Cosmic Welder is a certainty.
Dysfunctional Majesty Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia