July 15, 2019 David Ellefson – Sleeping Giants (Album Review)
A heavyweight in the world of Thrash Metal, Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson proudly announces the release of his first official solo album, Sleeping Giants, to take place on Friday, July 19, 2019 via Combat Records.
Since 1983, Ellefson has been one of the most recognizable bassists in the genre of Thrash Metal. As a founding member of one of the greatest Thrash acts in history, Megadeth, Ellefson is renowned for being the twisted and melodic backbone to classic Megadeth tracks like “Peace Sells” and “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.” A jack of all things Metal, Ellefson has also been a part of a multitude of great side projects such as F5, featuring former Megadeth Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso; Altitudes & Attitude alongside Frankie Bello of Anthrax; and Metal Allegiance with Bassist/Songwriter Mark Menghi, Guitarist Alex Skolnick of Testament, and Drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs).
In becoming Ellefson’s first solo release, Sleeping Giants offers a lot to die-hard fans in terms of musical variety and the calvary of musicians and special guests featured on the album. In the studio, Sleeping Giants was produced by both Ellefson and his business partner Thom Hazaert, who also provides his scathing vocals to a number of tracks on the album. Overall, Sleeping Giants features new material recorded by Ellefson and Hazaert alongside demos and other unreleased tracks from Ellefson’s many side projects. Not to be forgotten, the cover art for Sleeping Giants was designed by artist Melody Myers (Altitudes and Attitude, Marc Rizzo, Escape The Fate).
With an ample supply of both Hard Rock and Metal, Ellefson is gifting fans a ton of new music as Sleeping Giants awakens eighteen brand new tracks. Getting started, Sleeping Giants opens with a gritty, one two punch of the hard nosed “Vultures.” A few tracks later, a second version of “Vultures” appears with an Industrial/Techno remix done by Game of Thrones Actor/DJ Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor on the HBO series. On perhaps the biggest guest spot, Run DMC legend Daryll McDaniels, DMC himself, provides vocals on “Sleeping Giants.” An in-your-face track, DMC’s direct and subtle vocals pair well with a Thrash Metal song alongside Hazaert’s dominant pipes.
Mega-melodic, the Megadeth channelling aggression of “Hammer (Comes Down)” features former Megadeth Guitarist Chris Poland and Creed/Tremonti Guitarist Mark Tremonti who are just what the doctor ordered for a head-banging tune. Thereafter, “If You Were God” features guest vocals by John Bush (ex-Anthrax, Armored Saint) for a truly classic sounding Metal track taking it back to small club shows in the early 1980s. Switching up the sound, “Dead Man Rise” is a rattling combo of sludgy Stoner Rock and Thrash. That in mind, it should be noted that Sleeping Giants offers Ellefson’s approach on Modern Metal via fine tracks like “Faded” and “Feel Your Pain.”
A special guest on a number of bonus tracks only available on the digital copy of Sleeping Giants, David Glen Eisley, best known for being the vocalist behind 1980’s Rock bands House of Lords and Giuffria, is a breathe of fresh air at the end of the album. To shed light, Eisley gives an enjoyable 80’s Rock/Pop touch on songs like “Voices,” “Home,” and “After All (Said and Done).” Other stand-out tracks on Sleeping Giants include “Why Can’t We Die,” which channels the sound of the band Helmet, “Dying On The Vine,” and “Undeniable.”
An intense collection, Sleeping Giants shows Ellefson’s talent as a musician to spread his wings and create something much more than what the average Megadeth fan might expect. Over the course of these eighteen tracks, Ellefson’s Sleeping Giants offers a variety of moods to keep the listeners’ minds going with Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, Modern Rock, and Stoner Rock – all of which should be turned up at full volume! Not only is Sleeping Giants Ellefson’s newest album, it is a companion LP to Ellefson’s new memoir, MORE LIFE WITH DETH, the follow up to his first book, 2013’s MY LIFE WITH DETH. Part of a Mega-Release, Sleeping Giants stands tall, which is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars.