Giant Squid
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Giant Squid


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"Cephalopods rarely rock this hard"

Forget Samuel L. Jackson’s snake fucking master skills for a second, if you haven’t already. Giant Squid’s got the best name on the animal-aping block right now—more wonderful than Wolf Eyes, more tantalizing than Teddybears, and quite possibly greater than Goatsnake—and they actually back it up with equally enticing music.

Which is surprising, to be honest. With a band bio that’s all Mogwai this/My Bloody Valentine that, and “produced by Billy Anderson� (Neurosis, the Melvins), the group seemed destined for the growing trash heap of noisy but derivative nod-off jams. Not so. Not in the slightest. The name Metridium Fields is appropriate given the disc’s prog tendencies and cryptic, fantastical storyline; otherwise it’s an entirely approachable affair free of pretense and hewing to no specific subgenre. If anything, Giant Squid suggest a whole new beast entirely—a bizarre, often awe-inspiring cross-section of the Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Pelican, Rush and System of a Down on sedatives and a synth-pop kick.

That last qualifier is in no way as awful as it sounds. Lead singer Aaron Gregory simply sounds like Serj Tankian a lot of the time, only he’s not screaming about psycho groupies being cocaine crazy. Complementing Gregory perfectly are the airy, angelic high notes of wife/co-guitarist Aurielle and the blossoming sepia tones of keyboardist Andy Southard (parts now played by recent recruit Kimberly Freeman). The culmination, the very apex of all this brainy metal action is the title track, which drones on for 20 minutes and includes down-tuned doom riffs, blurting trumpets, goth harmonies, ticklish fuzz tones, and other elements you won’t catch without headphones on or a little imagination (read: being absolutely stoned out of your gourd). Finally, a post-everything band that actually meets—and sometimes surpasses—their insta-cool laundry list of influences. —Andrew Parks - Decibel Magazine

"Metridium Fields review"

A tale as old as time. We have all spotted the Giant Squid out in the deep sea as we travel the open waters. I seem to remember a giant squid in Michael Crichton’s book, The Sphere. Anyhow, if the band Mastodon decided to take sedatives and become more of a doom neurosis band, then I could imagine them sounding as such. The music, while mellow in construction, does ring out with volume, ala noticeable production credit from one of my favorites, Billy Anderson. This five-piece band consists of brothers, Mike (guitar) and Tim (keyboards, Trumpet) Conroy, Bryan Beeson (bass), and husband & wife Aaron (guitar, vocals) and Aurielle (guitar, vocals) Gregory. They hail from northern California, but recently moved to Austin, Texas. The amalgamation of musical genres that Giant Squid presents before us, are tightly orchestrated and interwoven together in such a way that it will take several listens to fully understand how complex the music really is. It is not difficult listening by any means. In fact the music is quite soothing, while also remaining heavy and haunting. The journey you will take with Giant Squid is well worth your time. Sure many bands worship Neurosis, but Giant Squid hits the nail on the head. - Zero Magazine

"Metridium Fields review"

Artsy doom rock, avante-garde indie doom, experimental melancholic doom metal…you get the picture. Austin, Texas' GIANT SQUID will be an acquired taste for many, a diamond in the rough for the dedicated, and a confounding exercise in the esoteric for the traditionalists. "Metridium Fields" is another in a long-line of The End Records releases that kicks convention to the curb and over time reveals its hidden treasures to those patient enough to stick with it.

This album is a re-release of sorts. Originally produced by Billy Anderson (makes sense, doesn't it?) and released independently, the band actually returned to the studio and re-created the original effort, this time with Anderson engineering and Austin's Jason Rufuss Sewell producing. At various points, comparisons to acts like MOGWAI, ISIS, PELICAN, and NEUROSIS are sure to crop up in critical and fan reviews, if for no other reason that it's a good starting point to a album dissection. Many moments will bring terms like "drone" to mind, but not of the kind one might hear from a Southern Lord-style act. Rather, the effect of the band's crawling, yet intricate and cerebral, indie doom is often quite mesmerizing, especially when time is allowed for the musical medication to kick in. With plenty of atmospheric float and dark undertones, songs like "Versus the Siren" are rife with bleak soundscapes, driven subtly by a cold organ sound and a steady beat. It's not quite a dirge, but the feeling is there. Along with the comparatively subdued "Ampullae of Lorenzini" with its ethereal wisps and choral female vocal lines juxtaposed against the male vocals, it is one of several songs that moves between the ethereal and rock steady. And speaking of the vocals, the multi-vocalist approach gives the album an air of distinction, as the male vocals of Aaron Gregory often sound like the controlled/flowing singing of Serj Tankian (SYSTEM OF A DOWN), an excellent counterpoint to the soothing female singing of wife Aurielle Gregory. Keyboardist Andy Southard is also credited with vocals. The album's pinnacle arrives on the 21-minute album-closing title track, one that recalls the continental drift of PELICAN and ISIS to mind, albeit with GIANT SQUID's distinguishing somberness.

Look for fans of the style and a good number of critics to eat up "Metridium Fields", as it is a breath of fresh air even amongst today's decidedly more crowded eclectic doom field. I find it one that definitely requires a certain state of mind to full enjoy. Not recommended for speed freaks and meth heads.

- Scott Alisoglu -

"Metridium Fields review"

With the current influx of droning, drawn-out stoner metal records hitting shelves across the world, it's growing increasingly difficult to stand out amongst the other comers in the genre. While Isis and Neurosis remain the forerunners and points of reference within the genre and most simply regurgitate these innovators, these two bands are slowly being outdone by those who have been able to look at the genre from afar before dipping their pens into the ink.

Take, for instance, Giant Squid, a band which has taken this increasingly-stale genre to a new height or, at the very least, to a new dimension and created something never heard before. Fusing a healthy dose of folk and Paleolithic philosophy, they've crafted an album that combines the sea monster love of Mastodon with the churning riffs of Swarm of the Lotus while making metal entirely their own. Producer Jason Rufuss Sewell and engineer Billy Anderson have done a terrific job of giving this album much more weight than it had when first released in 2004. Where the original, which Anderson also co-helmed, sometimes felt empty and hollow in spots, there are no gaps like that in this latest version. There's a reason the man is a legend in his field and Metridium Fields is simply the icing on his career's brooding, dark, Havershamian cake.

To hear the squalling, sprawling guitar solo in "Summit" is to come face to face with the future of post-metal. To hear guitarist/vocalist's Aurielle Gregory's piercing shrieks contrast against her heavenly coos is to recognize that, even in the most brutal of settings, beauty can be found. To hear Aaron Gregory's warbling, though self-assured, vocals is to find a dose of originality in a genre that has been pleading for a change of pace. Of course, one must not forget about Brian Beeson's always-important mammoth bass swells, a staple of the post-metal diet, as well as keyboard work that interlaces itself seamlessly within the music, peeking out over the din of the roar from time to time, as in "Versus the Siren," to give Giant Squid's music yet another captivating depth to which they can sink.

Sadly, those responsible for the drums and keys have recently left the band, so shortly after having filled in for the already-dismissed previous holders of those positions. However, the absence of the original members is not felt on this re-recording, so there is hope that yet another incoming of fresh blood won't affect the band's future works. In the meantime, sit back, relax, grab a well-worn copy of Moby Dick, and lose yourself in Metridium Fields. It is simply fantastic by all definitions of the word.

fan•tas•tic (adj):
1. Quaint or strange in form, conception, or appearance.
2. a) Unrestrainedly fanciful; extravagant;
b) Bizarre, as in form or appearance; strange;
c) Based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal.
3. Wonderful or superb; remarkable; exceedingly or unbelievably great.

fan•tas•tic (n):
1. An eccentric person.

--Ben Rice - Decoy Music

"Bay Area's Giant Squid leaving its mark in Austin"

As a pal of mine said of Austin heavy rock band Giant Squid, "I like that there are two girls in the band — one cute, innocent-looking and one scary-looking."

Squid founder, guitarist and songwriter Aaron Gregory thinks this is pretty funny.

"The 'innocent-looking' girl was in the most brutal hard-core bands of all of us," Gregory says of his ex-wife, Squid guitarist Aurielle Gregory.

"She's actually the one with the most experience with the dark metal coming out of the Bay Area."

Bay Area? Yep, Giant Squid's members are transplants, Austin residents for a mere nine months. Not only has the band made a big impression on the hard rock, punk and metal scene flowering on Red River Street, but its new album, "Metridium Fields," was recently released by metal indie label The End Records. Formed in Sacramento in 2001, the band kicked around various sounds for years. "I've played with (bassist) Bryan (Beeson) for 11 years, since our junior year of high school," Aaron Gregory says. "Aurielle joined about six years ago. We were more a dark reggae punk rock band, like Crass, the Clash or Citizen Fish. But we just got slower and slower."

"I listened to the Beatles as much as anything else," Aurielle Gregory says. "But I was an angsty teenager and enjoyed jumping around onstage in hard-core bands." After years as a bassist, she started playing guitar only a few years ago and claims as her guitar heroes the Smiths' Johnny Marr, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, and PJ Harvey ("for her simplicity," she notes).

The band eventually decided that 20-something years in Sacramento was enough for a band of twentysomethings. "Sacramento is not a good place for a band to grow," Aaron Gregory says. "We moved here because of the music scene and to buy a house, the latter of which would have been impossible in California."

The band recorded its first album, "Metridium Field," some years ago, but when it signed to The End, it decided to simply re-record the songs and tack an "s" onto the end of "Field." The band even used the same engineer, the increasingly busy Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Eyehategod, roughly a billion more).

But after the band landed in Austin and toured a few times, it lost drummer Mike Conroy and keyboard player Tim Conroy in August. Enter the "scary looking girl," Kimberly Freeman, and drummer Scott Sutton.

Contrary to her Goth vibe, Freeman is almost bubbly before the band's gig a few weeks ago at Room 710. She and Sutton play in the alt-rockish Ghetto Princess (soon to be known as One-Eyed Doll) and are recent transplants from Oregon. According to her MySpace page, her solo music has a tendency toward strummy folk.

"Scott and Kim have worked out wonderfully," Aaron Gregory says. "They just want to be in an active band and seem willing to sacrifice about anything to do it, which is exactly what Giant Squid needs, especially when some of us have been playing these same songs for years. Kim also comes from more into a more melodic, kind of hard rock thing, and she's a pretty heavy-handed guitar player herself. It will be nice to do a three-guitar guitar thing and eventually return to having three vocalists."

It all comes together pretty brilliantly live. Aaron hurls himself around the stage like a metal vet, waves of broad, chunky, hypnotic chords sailing through the air. Freeman, black hair in pigtails, fiddles with her keyboards while Aurielle Gregory concentrates on turning her Rickenbacker roar into one weird texture after another.

Giant Squid is not just another metal band hopping on the "post-rock/post-metal" bandwagon like so many bands that sound vaguely like epic acts such as Neurosis, Isis, Mogwai or Austin's Explosions in the Sky. There's a lot going on in Giant Squids superstructures, not nearly all of it noisy and long. In fact, Aaron Gregory says he's looking forward to changing up the set a little.

"The End wants us to tour on this album well into 2007, which is what we want to do as well," he says. "But these songs are so long that you play five and that's a 40-minute set. Maybe it's time to learn some slightly shorter songs or work on some new ones."

After all, with fresh blood, up to three guitars, a mess of potential songwriting voices and a bank of keyboards, this Squid can clearly swim anywhere it wants.; 912-5926 - Austin Statesman

"Metridium Fields review"

So I saw "The Perfect Storm" back in 2000. I was hungover, hadn't eaten anything all day and was just unfortunate enough to have to take a front row seat in the packed-to-capacity theater. I made it a good hour and forty-five minutes through the film, but eventually those giant rogue waves (or was it Marky Mark's acting?) were too much for me. They actually made me seasick -- swooping over my tensely craned neck and throbbing skull. I had to take a trip out to the men's room to regain my legs, land lubber that I am.

Anyway, just as the fate of those fishermen loomed for an insufferable amount of time, Giant Squid toys with the listener. But instead of towering walls of death at the surface, here we get deep sea dementia. Mysterious passages of wavering fuzz guitar and vintage keyboard pass over swells of brooding male/female vocals. Sometimes all is well after six minutes. Sometimes not. The pressure of Giant Squid's denser material just builds and builds. It never fully implodes, but that's where the fun lies. Each of the six songs (two other tracks are short ambient bridges) is like a tentacle. It probes. Caresses. Latches on. Strangles. Pulls you further in to the darkness.

It's not quite metal, but it is plenty deep, heavy and strange. It straddles a line between ambient noise-rock (Mogwai) and dirgey art metal (Neurosis). I'm more partial to the band's louder moments -- "Neonate" and "Revolution In The Water" in particular. "Versus The Siren" is probably the best representation of the band's mastery of mood. Weird aquatic beauty gives way to predatory lashing which dives down to a dark, cold, sleepy ambience. This taking place over a span of nearly 10 minutes. Pretty much an average song length for the band.

Get this if you like long slimy slabs of meaty sea arms. Pass if you're more into bite-sized unagi.
Standout Tracks

Versus The Siren
Revolution In The Water -

"Metridium Fields review"

Like fellow massive brethren Mastodon, Giant Squid plods through myriad time changes and tempos, coupled with guitarist Aaron Gregory's bloodcurdling screams and theatrical breakdowns. The grandiose "Neonate," with its Zeppelin-esque Middle Eastern breakdown and piano interlude, and the post-metal of "Summit" prove that the Sacramento transplants, supplanted live with Kimberly Freeman and Scott Sutton of Austin's Ghetto Princess, know a thing or two about pacing, especially under the thumb of engineer Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Mr. Bungle). "Versus the Siren" drifts along dreamy intervals, pairing Aaron and wife/guitarist Aurielle's vocals, but the middle section of Fields drifts a bit, begging for a knife to cut fat. The end-time jam of "Metridium Field" ascends slowly before reaching out and slapping you into the muck, a lone trumpet signaling death. Doomy, gloomy, but elegant.

- Austin Chronicle


Metridium Field
Tyrannosaurus Records 2003
Produced By Billy Anderson

Monster In The Creek - Ep
Tyrannosaurus Records 2005
Produced By Eric Broyhill

Alternate Endings - 2006 Sampler
The End Records

Metridium Fields
Engineered By Billy Anderson
Produced by Jason Rufuss Sewell
The End Records - 2006

Sutter's Fort 7" split w/ Grayceon
Engineered by Jason Rufuss Sewell
The End Records - 2007



The self released debut from Giant Squid, Metridium Field, produced by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, High On Fire, Mr. Bungle, Melvins) in 2004, garnered the attention of highly eclectic progressive metal label, The End Records, and the band quickly inked a deal in 2005. Because Metridium Field is what hooked The End in the first place, the band felt like it was fit for their debut on the label. But, Giant Squid had gone through several members coming and going since that records completion, and had started to explore different creative spaces in their song writing. So, the band returned to the studio and completely re-recorded the album, taking full advantage of this second chance to re-interpret certain moments in this classic material, and make it sound and feel like they always knew it should.

The end result, now entitled Metridium Fields, showcases Aurielle Gregorys as a full time guitar player, as well as revisiting and improving upon her hauntingly beautiful vocals and all of her original lush keyboard parts that she played on the first record. Aaron Gregory returns stronger than ever to his duties as angst ridden, main vocalist and down-tuned riff wielder, and original bassist, Bryan Beeson, stands his ground as always the unyielding institution of low end. A new flow of groove and rhythm played by the bands drummer at the time, Mike Conroy, reveals some of the biggest differences in feel in this new incarnation from its predecessor, in addition to the masterfully played trumpet work of Tim Conroy, tastefully inducing a vibe not commonly found in such heavy handed music.

Metridium Fields also saw the return of the legendary Billy Anderson, who engineered the record in Sacramento with the assistance of Robert Cheek (Deftones, RX Bandits, An Angle). Then half way through the recording process, Giant Squid moved to Austin, TX. There they finished tracking vocals with vocal guru and higly regarded and eccentric producer, Jason Rufuss Sewell (The Proles, Spider Silk Dress) at Nebulost Productions, who also produced and mixed the album, awakening a beast of a record that the band couldn't have imagined was still slumbering under their old songs.

Aurielle Gregory parted ways with the band at the end of 2006, shortly after Metridium Fields was released, and has been replaced by Jackie Perez Gratz. Jackie is the highly renown cello player of Amber Asylum (Relapse Records) fame, who also has contributed to the records and live performances of such infamous bands as Neurosis, Today is the Day, Ludicra, Steve Von Till, and Asunder, and has made a large impression on the San Francisco music scene with her own incredibly unique metal band, Grayceon. Jackie’s masterful cello playing is as heavy handed as it is delicately dynamic, and brings a whole new sadness and beauty to Giant Squid’s already forlorn tales of lost love, lost friends, and immense loneliness. While the band believes its best interests obviously lie in preserving the familiar feel of their classic material off of Metridium Fields, Giant Squid is ecstatic about the distinctive beauty that Gratz is bringing to their songs. Having been massive fans for years of Gratz’s work in Amber Asylum, and now in Grayceon and Asunder, the band is thrilled to be playing along side her.

Metridium Fields dropped in stores, August of 2006, in a gorgeous digi-pak, and to rave reviews, which in their own descriptive acclaim will describe the music of Giant Squid better than the band feels it can do itself.

Acclaim for Metridium Fields, The End Records 2006:

"Finally, a post-everything band that actually meets and sometimes surpasses their insta-cool laundry list of influences." - Decibel Magazine

"The amalgamation of musical genres that Giant Squid presents before us, are tightly orchestrated and interwoven together in such a way that it will take several listens to fully understand how complex the music really is." - Zero Magazine

"Very few songs have ever fixated on the torture in my own heart with their frequencies." -

"EPIC It's the only word that can aptly describe the tremendous riffs and thunderous symphony that blends effortlessly with ethereal soundscapes to form the album, "Metridium Fields" -

"Metridium Fields is breath of fresh air... another in a long-line of The End Records releases that kicks convention to the curb and over time reveals its hidden treasures to those patient enough to stick with it." -

"...grab a well-worn copy of Moby Dick, and lose yourself in Metridium Fields. It is simply fantastic by all definitions of the word." -

"Let me introduce to you what may get my vote for best album of 2006. Metridium Fields is simply unbelievable." -

"After the first spin of Metridium Fields, its become increasingly clear that Giant Squid are the new champions of ambient doom." -

"I really find it hard to believ