TWINGIANT “Devil Down”
(Medusa Crush Recordings)

I used to watch Headbanger’s Ball when I was growing up – it was my heavy alternative to, ahem, Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes, which also populated the MTV-waves. The golden age of Riki Rachtman (what a metal spelling!) was upon us then, and we sat helpless as he spun video after video of gnarly, rambunctious, rebellious, delicious (mmm…) metal. It was a lot of fun, I’ll tell you.

You see where I’m going with this – Twingiant would have been perfect for a Headbanger’s Ball showcase. The Phoenix, Arizona, quartet rumbles through their second album like they were meant for Ozzfest ’05 (at least the second stage), and perhaps even cracking the initial main-stage lineup in 1996. (Alas, the golden age of the Ball ended in 1995.) Yeah, that’s right – Twingiant is straight-up metal, double devil horns, \m/ \m/, and they sound like they’re having a heck of a time doing it. (Aw, it’s metal – it’s a helluva time.)

It’s hard to even provide qualifiers for these dudes – you could append “sludge” or “stoner” in front of their brand of metal, but it would be mainly pointless. You just have to dive straight in to Devil Down. Yeah, the band is punchy and shouty, but hey, they’re also super melodic and pretty inventive within their compositions. The guitar runs are flashy but easy to swallow, and the vocals aren’t terribly over the top in their growliness. And they’re not too speedy for the likes of the average consumer – don’t you know it, Twingiant is for everybody!

If you want some touchstones, think early Mastodon, leavened with the more metally tendencies of Melvins. Or maybe Soundgarden with 1995-era Neil Fallon on vocals. And the instrumentals – there are three! – are spot on, not even needing a human voice to lend them a hand. One’s even a Zeppelin-esque acoustic-led meditation, “Under a Blood Moon.”

So what the heck, Twingiant, are you 20 years too late? Do you belong squarely in a scene that has long past? I say, no way, Jose! Twingiant’s right on time, and I’m diggin’ what they’re slingin’. Cue Riki, grab a cold one, and get ready to bang your head.

--Ryan Masteller