Wellington natives, Giantess, have been concocting a witches’ brew of new tracks ahead of dropping their debut album, Big Woman, midway through this year. Like a formidable phoenix, Giantess have risen from the ashes of witch-rock outfit HEX and are ready to send their genre melting dark-baroque pop across New Zealand, to their cross-continental-cousins and beyond.
Giantess’ first single, The News, is steeped in darkness and mystery. Atmospherically distorted guitars open the track as if introducing a prog-rock epic to the likes of Karnivool, before transitioning to the tinny plucks of an acoustic guitar melody. The transition feels natural though on paper could come off as stark and disruptive, the acoustic melodies add an almost medieval royalty to the track. Thunderous bass drum kicks bellow underneath the intricately wavy acoustic guitar riffs, a trait common to stadium metal, but once again do not feel out of place against Giantess’ clever fusion of genres. The vocals not only add a shimmer of brightness to the mysterious and atmospheric instrumentals, but simultaneously add an additional level of darkness. Vocalist Kiki Van Newtown commands attention with her lower registered vocals throughout the verses, creating tension and anticipation for melodic relief through the chorus. Newtown adds a beautifully enchanting vocal melody in the chorus, elevated further by the return of the heroic, distorted guitar lines.
The News ends with a mystical blend of crashing drum cymbals, duelling guitar lines and layered vocal refrains; a hypnotising blend of genre tropes. Giantess showcase a mastery of craft as they weave a tapestry of enchanted melodies, intricate guitar riffs and bellowing drum kicks. The New Zealand duo have caught my attention and I’ll be on the look out for further releases.