Giant Squid is doomy ocean-metal. Giant Squid is the band you desperately want to be playing over the loudspeakers at the aquarium if only they would let you put your CD in and not call security you mother-fuckers. Forget The Ocean Collective. Forget Isis's Oceanic. Forget Dethklok's Fish Album. This is the real deal.
I read an interview where their singer was talking about how reviewers always try to come up with a complicated and unique way to label their music. Well, good news for you guys. Mine is the right one, so you can all start using it immediately. Seriously, call your friends or something. OCEAN-METAL.
This album is really awesome actually, and improves significantly over their previous effort (Metridium Fields). I loved listening to it except when I got side-tracked and started listening to Madonna.
Lots of people said that Aaron Gregory’s vocals sounded like Serj Tankian on their first album. The comparison is still easily made (My dad made a reference to it when I played this for him for the first time) but I think the band has really done a lot to downplay the vocals and let the bass and guitar lines ebb and flow. See, oceans ebb and flow too. I’m a genius.
Personally, I thought Neonate from their first album was awesome. It was doomy and really catchy and had some really great male-female vocals. This important thing for me though was that it rocked pretty hard, which is something that can't be said for a good portion of The Icthyologist. Sure, the album is pretty heavy most of the time but I don't sense that fiery energy of the younger, less mature Giant Squid from Metridium Fields. However, by comparison to Neonate, the rest of Metridium Fields is not nearly as interesting with a few exceptions. The Icthyologist, in this case is better than it's predecessor because all the material is of excellent quality, and begets listening to the thing from start to finish in one sitting.
The lyrics in this thing are melodramatic, but also pretty gruesome and disturbing at times. As far as I can tell, all the songs are first person, from things like a boat captain to a dinosaur to a fish with a depressing slant to them. But hell, you'll never understand the lyrics anyway and they're not a highlight.
Ultimately, people will come to view Giant Squid as a pretentious band with their post-rock leanings, checkered shirts and box-frame glasses and string instruments. Get past that, and the occaisonal trough among the many peaks, and I think you'll find a unique and talanted band that's making interesting music in a crowded market.
I give it 4 squids out of 5, with a point off for calling the songs ridiculous latin fish names.