Six Of The Best: On The Backs Of Giants | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On The Backs Of Giants are an instrumental three-piece that take their influences from progressive, black/death metal, shoegaze and post-rock. Guitarist, Jamie and Bassist, Matthew have been playing in bands together around the North East scene since 2017. They recruited Ryan on drums and have since been writing and recording material.

Their debut single, Tempest (which you can pre-save here), is available from 31st July and is a five and a half minutes of evocative, soaring and ever-shifting soundscapes filled with intricate melodies, bold beats and ferocious fuzz.

Here, the band give us a six of the best…

Music – Song (Jamie): In the Heavens Above, You will become a Monster – An Abstract Illusion
Naturally, I had to pick a “long” song with many sections that I try to emulate even just a fraction of the energy of. That song is “In the Heavens Above, You will become a Monster ” Written by the Swedish metal band An Abstract Illusion and clocking in at 14 minutes. It’s got the “traditional black metal” opening section of fast tremolo picking on the guitars and blast beats and vocals, but there is also spooky synth, longer progressive instrumental sections and guitar solos (special shoutout to the absolute blazer riff and solo that starts at about 5:08) ending with a slower, more ambient section and clean vocals. Minus the technical solos, because I suck at playing shred guitar. There are many elements here all packed into one song that I draw from when writing. What is art these days if not a patchwork of multiple different influences?  

Video Game (Jamie): Control – Remedy Games
A Video game comes in at number two influence for me. Surprisingly, for someone who works for a games company, Matthew doesn’t play all that many of them. I have been quite passionate about games media for many years and some of them are great for quiz knowledge (Shout out Hearts of Iron 4).  A  great many of them give rise to great soundtracks as well. I discovered Godsmack as a preteen thanks to Prince of Persia. As a general principle I am banned from talking about a certain game relating to superpowers, time travel and life being strange. As this article would become an essay. The more fitting pick for number two in terms of band influences is Control by remedy Games. You play as Jesse Faden, a supercharged Heroine who whilst in search of her brother, ends up taking on more responsibility than she probably bargained for. It is an absolute must play if you like action and thrillers. The story all takes place in one gargantuan building called The Oldest House which because it does not accept “modern” technology is perpetually stuck in the 60’s in terms of aesthetic. You get to shoot, smash and explode your way through room after room of 60s brutalist style offices and labs, while the visuals and action are all fantastic. It is made complete by the spooky dark ambient electronic music you will hear throughout. Written by Martin Stig Andersen and Petri Alanko, there is a particular track there that I’m desperate to persuade the guys to let me use as a “Walk on” track.

Television Series (Jamie): Dark – Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese
So I ended up getting an opportunity to wax lyrical about time travel afterall. You might remember this German TV Series from a couple of years ago all about time travel that became all the rage. This series was so tediously planned that they were able to premiere on the dates that events in the series actually happened! And that’s just one bit of trivia. It is the first bit of German media that premiered on the Netflix platform and still arguably the best. A mystery turned thriller turned sci-fi that all starts with a missing child. It is confusing, it is heavy, it is ultimately brilliant. A complex twisting narrative and stunning cinematography topped off of course with some excellent soundtrack that starts before you even finish the opening credits (Goodbye – Apparat). If you haven’t watched it, do it. Go now.   

Music – Album (Matthew): Sunbather – Deafheaven
Sunbather is one of my all-time favourite and most influential albums, I was vaguely aware of Post Metal through my love of Prog Metal but Sunbather just made it click. The mixture of Metal with Post Rock & Shoegaze ambience is the basic premise of what we do as a band and for me it all started with Sunbather. I knew about halfway through the opening track “Dream House” that this was an album I was going to love, and each track afterward just confirmed that more and more. Sunbather led me to appreciate the world of Black Metal and discover several of my favourite bands today. I still come back to Sunbather now, 10 years later and listen in awe with a massive smile. (hype to check these out at Arctangent!) 

Book (Matthew): Black Metal Rainbows – Edited by Daniel Lukes & Stanimir Panayotov
Black Metal Rainbows is an anthology of radical queer and leftist writings exploring their involvement in the genre. For me as a somewhat fairly left wing individual I like to make sure the things I support, share similar views to me and that I’m not supporting people that stand against all my beliefs, and Black Metal as a genre has a bit of a reputation, so it’s really encouraging to read essays and theory-fictions from artists and journalists that show the genre in another more open and inclusive light. Black Metal is a huge influence on our sound and for me it’s important to keep the space open and welcoming to everyone. (Big up to promoters, venues and organisers who put their money where their mouth is in terms of inclusivity, access and social justice.) 

Television Series (Matthew): Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy is my favourite series of all time, The TV series, the film (even if it is a bit cheesy), I even got into the comics that continue the series from where the TV show ended, and I own countless other books that tie into the franchise. The high point of Buffy for me is Season 5, Glory is the best big bad of the entire series and it has “The Body”, which due to the subject matter is an incredibly difficult watch and hits a bit close to home but for those reasons it’s also one of my favourite episodes of the entire series as well. Buffy also has a fantastic musical episode in Season 6’s “Once More With Feeling” which I regularly just find myself listening to the soundtrack to.


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