Wednesday, May 29, 2013

... the thinking man is prey : KINGS DESTROY "A Time of Hunting" (Album Review)

After a couple of years of relative calm on the underground media-front, despite countless gigs with many killer bands, the name of KINGS DESTROY gets pretty much exposure this month and finally it makes justice to the band and their new album "Time of Hunting" in particular !

Three years after their killer debut "and the rest will surely perish" released by Maple Forum (label of  the man behind The Obelisk), this sophomore album marks a considerable development in the band's sound and to tell you the truth it's - if not disconcerting,  a bit surprising at first and  above all needs time to grow (infectiously) on you to get its whole (extremely rich) substance.

First album was clearly evolving in wellknown Trad' Doom territories - with a correct production; retrospectively one can now think it was maybe recorded too quickly after the band's formation - in a totally different musical context from their longtime HC origins. Still noticeably above the average and nice to listen to, "and the rest..." seems slightly rough and generic when you've got now "Time for Hunting" between your ears ! it can be now considered like just a little overview of the band's real potencial and identity to come.
And now, after more than two years of intense work and composition, boiling of inspiration and confidence, with largely more comfortable recording conditions, at least that's what the incredibly powerful and massive production (again by Sanford Parker) let suggest, the guys have crafted here THE album of their life ! Indeed, from A to Z, it appears firmly that the 5 old friends from NYC have neared alienation of perfection and the result is that they easily have managed to reach pure excellence.

As said before, for me, this didn't go  without a longer than usual time to get into this very very massive sound which can indeed imply a real astonishment at first listening(s), personally it was something like "ooohh, that's too modern sounding" !  But, even if 1st album's most prominent composer Ed Bocchino left the band, there's instantaneously  identifiable caracters of K.D.,   while this more dynamic approach will certainly appeal to a wider audience; more important responsabilities given to both guitarists Carl and Chris in terms of composition seem to have transcend them, acting like a debriding detonator which helped to gain in consistency, harmony and audacity.

Spicier, the tone of the album is also a lot darker, not just musically but also in the so grandiose vocal performance of Steve Murphy - whose lyrics are still very engaged, not directly moralistic but with an obvious reflective vision of today's world decrepitude, coldly realistic and kinda dramatical. The guy has always been a distinctive force of the band but here frankly - even more is he impressive and acts as a commanding ensorcelor of darkened souls !

I've read at several times the word "progressive" attached to describe K.D. actual (new) sound... well maybe, in fact this album has the essential quality to trancend all stylistic considerations, but, beyond the overall sound, the main thing that changed in my opinion, is the amazing development towards some awesome 70's heavy rock textures... especially on "Shattered Pattern" with multilayered guitars (including an amazing southern bluesy tone at 01:00 !) and my fave song "Decrepit", the organic textures make this awesome !!!

Vocals on "Decrepit" are progressively gaining in intensity and emotion to reach a level in  dramatical passion that only a few Metal singers have made proof of during the last 30 years (no exagaration, really); heartbreaking and passionate, he reminds dinosaur monsters of the mid 70's, just like musically you can hear with undisguised enjoyment some Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash or Rainbow, darkened to the bone !!!

So many people had to die to make it right
Their blood stained hands were used to mechanize our flight
So we would not hear their choked off silence
We re Air...Tight
Air Tight
Hold on hold on
Hold on hold on. No more time to be
We got a brand new start
We didn't learn from our past.

So then, let us wonder, let it rain, let us ponder
So then(so then), let us wander(beneath our sins), let it rain(on top of them), let us ponder(beneath the elms).

I'm glad to meet them too  the people who withdrew
It's plain to see it thru , they wander in the blue
a people on the mend, no more they let it go
A people on the mend, no more no more
A people on the mend
A people on the mend

Listen him yelling, with an immense impact, the last verse of this Decrepit and believe me - you'll feel something deep and special flowing in your veins !!!

If the St Vitus vibes of the 1st album have disappeared, the Sabbathian type of gloomy riffage is  still present at several times, more subtle and infectious though,  like on "Casse Tête" or the last song "Turul" which kills it with a nice addition of effects (an alert sirene, some kind of mocking ghosts whistles).

Other striking songs are "The Toe" which is a true masterpiece of shattering Doom, while the title song "Time of Hunting" is a monster of heaviness, menacing and massive as an unexplored mountain, it must be as loud on stage as your latest amplifiersworship sensation !!! 
The charming and incisive opener "Storm Break" and melancholic "Blood of Recompense" which brings back to surface some slight Grunge hints (heard at several times on 1st album), are also worth the mention... there's no filler here, this album is faultless and am sure will remain a timeless classic.

With a lot of work, talent and confidence, KINGS DESTROY have released here an ESSENTIAL album of HEAVY ROCK (the band's sound is now so rich and assumed, that it'd be too reducing to classify them in just Stoner and/or Doom, so I guess Heavy Rock fits the best) including the best vocal performance of the year by Steve (which makes me even more proud to get a particular sympathy from this guy - 150% mutual !!!).
 Either individually or collectively the genesis of this "A Time of hunting" will assuredly be rewarded in many 2013 Faves lists !!! Now let's cross fingers and hope they'll be touring Europe shortly, so that Steve could visit again la belle France !!!

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