Titles like “The Might of the Sword” and “The Might of the Dragon” reveal the band's proggy side and the opening track's tolling bell adds suitable prog-like portent too. Certainly the second track “Feedback King” shows the guitarists unleashing bruising barracuda lines that slash and burn with the best of'em, and the two pair up for some impressive riffing in the slow-burn epic “Stairway To Heaven Part II: Stampede Into Heaven” too. Interestingly enough, however, AristeiA impresses most not when it's throwing down and losing itself in moments of Dionysian abandon but when reining it in, something heard to especially good effect during “I'll Take Mine Black” when some lovely chord changes and a relaxed tempo set the stage for the EP's most lyrical and affecting guitar playing.-Textura Magazine
I hate it when a band falls through the cracks. Or, more accurately, when I fail to give my proper due. So consider this my sincere apology for failing to really say much of anything about How to Kill a King, the new record from Portland’s best post-instrumental rockers AristeiA.
Everything about “Feedback King”—from the title-that’s-so-perfect-you’re-shocked-Mogwai-didn’t-use-it to the songs’ beautiful assault of reverberating guitars, crashing, resistant slo-mo drums and heavenly background synths—screams “EPIC.” Yet the song succeeds not because of its resemblance to similar instrumental acts like Explosions in the Sky and Mono but instead in how it differentiates. Clocking in at a sturdy six minutes, “Feedback King” never loses its focus or drifts into a clueless bridge; it’s constantly mutating, shifting with waves of feedback and plucked guitars that weave in and out of the mix.
In the record’s liner notes, guitarist Brandon Gordon thanks, of all people, German film composer Hans Zimmer. Listening to How to Kill a King, though, it all starts to make sense. AristeiA’s songs are almost mini-film compositions themselves, and the best ones—like “Feedback King”—display a narrative rise and swell that mirrors the best epics of our time. I regret sleeping on these dudes. Hopefully local directors won’t make the same mistake. -Willamette Weekly