These boys are from California, but you would not know it. The Post Metal, Sludge Doom that these guys play suggests even more crossed genre’s, like “ metal gaze” for instance, but that’s about right and I like it. They do a great Isis/Neurosis inspired kind of experimental drone.
At 15 minutes, Halo Of The Sun is a great sodding riff that lingers and lingers, but you don’t get tired. The vocals, raw as they are keep you locked in a trance, with the drums basically telling you where to look. The backing vocals sweetly remind us of the title, while the main vocal is telling us it’s time to die.
Martyrs comes in with a slow metallic repetition building nicely into a 2 chord verse that keeps me guessing who’s side I’m on until I am impolitely told that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I should just fuck off. Great use of mind control with the lyrics as now I’m ready to destroy for no reason.
These four hairy arsed geezers make fine work of just a few riffs and making them last. It’s definitely all about feel and groove here as there’s not a guitar solo in sight It’s just as well really as Destroyer takes us into the fourteen minute epic doom territory, and we’re still no better off, as this title track is all about a greater force or condemned being taking down whole planets and crushing them to dust.
This album is forty minutes of dirty crusty blackened doom, a very impressive recording as I believe it was self financed. For only three tracks you have a band that has excelled in their field and I seriously recommend you get this.
Written by: John Slaymaker
The usual thanks go out to the band for hooking us up with the record to review. I know from talking with you guys, there was not expectation on your part to review the record, but we dig it and thought it deserved to be share with everyone.
B@1 doesn't normally review albums, we're mostly into the recording and production side. Plus we're so picky about who we work with and what we listen too. However every now and then something new comes along that we need to be a part of. Recently I was turned on to Deathkings, the name caught my attention when I noticed them on a flier and were playing with our friends Behold! the Monolith and Iron Mtn, who just last weekend was recording their next epic with B@1 Records. The key to a great record I've always thought came down to 3 main things; 1 - is a solid drum track with a superb mix, 2 - clear vocals with good lyrics and 3 - a good separation of the guitars. With that said this is going to go down as a great record, 3 songs clocking in at just over 40 minutes and you can pick out the instruments easily without concentrating too hard. The vocals are clearly understandable with deep lyrical meanings, while the guitars compliment each other playing riffs and dual melodies. I really am enjoying the song arrangements of this album, a method lost long ago when rock n roll decided that there had to be a verse - chorus - verse - chorus equation. Deathkings are writing songs their way with complete disregard to the rules. Which is what rock n roll and punk rock used to be. As a musician/producer it's refreshing to see a band doing what their supposed to do, instead of what they've been told to do by main stream crappy ass bands that litter the SoCal music scene with the same old crap year after year. Deathkings are maintaining the Doom/Sludge sound while keeping a more steady beat like those of the Stoner/Desert Rock when they slow down and jam. The overall sound is excellent and these guys did a great job self producing this piece. I'm not sure if they had help mixing or mastering for I've just began to discover this band and I'm extremely eager to see them live now that I have had the opportunity to listen to the album first. Which in my case usually works the other way around and then the band doesn't have any material recorded yet. A hint to all bands out there, at least get a demo recorded before your first show cause you never know who might be there.
I hate comparing bands to each other, but sometimes thats the only way people can get an idea of what you're hearing when listening to something new. So, elements of Sunn O))) and OM would be in there because of the haunting riffage and King Kong bass tone. As well as Stonebride and Electric Wizard strictly for the fuzzed out guitars. Impeccable timing and solid beats that we're so used to hearing from Neurosis, Saint Vitus and Orange Goblin, along with the ability to go slow and just jam like Portishead. Vocal comparisons would be a bit tough for me here for the fact that N has a unique voice and is capable of the cookie monster growls at the same time able to sing a melody and carry notes through his voice while playing bass.
"Halo of the Sun" - 14:58
A haunting guitar intro brings you directly into the mood of this record right off the bat, the drums start to get your head bobbing just in time for the volume kick that the second guitar brings when it kicks into the riff. Aggressive vocals warning you of the broken winged angels and fiery war that is brewing. Don't be scared though, "Open your eyes," to the melody and soothing comfort of the first break down at about the 4 minute mark. Kicking right back to the heavy hook riff and repeating this melody within the heavy part creating the "sun kissed grace" dynamic that shows the experience of these song writers. When the bridge comes around to be crossed, the distorted bass chords and pounding 1/4 notes bring the message home. If you weren't paying attention yet this section will grab you by the short hairs and let you know these guys are here to stay. As the backing vocals start trading with the lead to help tell this story, the changes begin to slow down into the next melody, "Halo of the Sun". If the star does collapse in on itself then this is probably how it will sound.
"Martyrs" - 11:08
BAM! Big hits start this one off with a triplet arpeggio guitar riff and punk rock style 16th notes on the guitar. As the song starts the intro is not lost but incorporated into the verse with every martyrs tag line, "Free me from all of this" and "lay me to rest" signals the revisit to the intro with another riff added in there. Border line prog rock with the 7th chords and progressive changes. After pushing out all that energy you would think these guys would be exhausted but they keep the sludge riffs coming in an ebb and flow crushing tidal current through out the middle section. Slowing down just a bit to do some call and response guitar work, then back into the 7ths and 9ths for true headphone fodder. (Can't wait to get this on vinyl.) Closing out this tune with the timing starting to gradually subside, the guitars ringing out without feedback in classic doom style.
It's all about the end game with this record, everything has been leading up to this song. The first two are laying the ground work for another epic jam. Quit possibly a concept album, all these songs could be played in order without stopping making for an awesome live show. So now onto Destroyer.
"Destroyer" - 14:05
Starting off with low tuned guitars and bass tone fuzz. Pounding cymbals hit the accents into your brain to give a sense of the timing just before the count off sends you into a completely different direction. Just when you think Deathkings are gonna break into the death metal thrash core of the past, they instead take you to church with ominous chords and spoken Latin demanding that you now bow to the Deathkings and kiss their ring. This part reminds of me Chant if they had Marshal stacks and Orange amps. The lyrics are so heavy with this song that you hope none of it comes true, but the inevitable doom of mankind that he has brought on himself is evident in the telling of this epic. "The Destroyer of Worlds" is paying us a visit, lets hope he returns where he came from. Breaking down at just about the midway point into a spacey jam with a bass melody and volume swelling guitars, picking it up again softly creating comfort with the vocals of what might be to come. Another sun flared blast of guitar riffage and a hammer-on repeating style with the accompaniment of the Latin spoken word and growling lead vocal, creating layers on layers of vocal melodies and guitar progressions. Manufacturing an audio rise in elevation not yet seen, they take you up and up and keep going on up, leaving you there in the company with angels with nice 1/2 note blasts that fade out tastefully.
Deathkings are in good company with Behold! the Monolith and Iron Mtn for their March gig in Long Beach. Surely to be one of the most talked about shows this year in SoCal.
Y'all can get a sneak peak on bandcamp but you'll have to get your ass to a show for now to pick up a copy. Support underground music, don't steal it.
Great job guys,