The album title holds, what it promises. Most songs have a groovy, southern, grinding vibe, backed up with the typical throaty vocals. Nevertheless, in contrast to the godfathers of southern rock, KING GIANT have their blend enriched with a heavy load of metal, preferably the doomier version. The resulting eleven tracks on 'Southern Darkness' captivate with strong hooks and plenty of swampy badassness. Particularly convincing is singer Dave Hammerly, whose rasp voice sounds like he just drank a 5th of whiskey each day, combined with countless packs of cigarettes. The guitar section doesn't hold back on thick heavy riffs, backed up by a crunching rhythm section. The music on this album is not especially polished or complex, just driving and powerful. 'Solace' kicks the album off with a 1970's metal bang and a memorable gang chorus to boot.
Blues and country are further explored, evidenced by amazing songs like '13 To 1' (with additional banjo), and 'Mississippi River', whereas the last one is powered by a cool 1950's rock 'n' roll vibe. 'Shindig' reveals a much doomier side of KING GIANT, and is another outstanding cut on this album. It's also one of the most threating tracks here, where they again prove their capabilities to create a dark atmosphere. As I have already said, 'Southern Darkness' is an appropriate title for KING GIANT's self released first effort. There are also a lot of heavy Sabbath-esque riffs, but, of course they also pay their respect to Lynyrd Skynyrd with an excellent version of 'The Needle And The Spoon'. I also really like the emotional diversity and depth of 'Southern Darkness'. There's no need to play the tough guy for 48 hours. And the rawness of their sound takes care that there's always enough filth under the nails. Life through their eyes may not be pretty, but at least it's real. To summarize, KING GIANT crafted a fine album with 'Southern Darkness'. If you prefer southern rock soaked in doom (or the other way round), then you should add this band to your shopping list.