Friday, June 2, 2017
Death of Kings : " Kneel Before None "
In the past I never felt the other recorded efforts by this Atlanta band were accurate representations of what this band really does on stage.
The vocals at times were more throaty like old Mastodon or the guitar tone was recorded to give a false death metal density. I think anything that doesn't properly paint these guys as a thrash band is misleading. The feral screech of the more Overkill like vocals are here this time around. are more They offer a more mid paced gallop on "Sojurn", which appeared on their 2015 demo. They double bass gets heavier on the chorus and muddies the mix a bit, but I think they biggest take away is how they are beginning to mature as song writers and it's not just about finding cool riffs. They do bring in lower vocals to offer a call and response with higher snarls on "Regicidal".
"Decent into Madness" is more of a wink to Slayer. Matson's vocals shift into a more Tom Araya like bark. When The riff to the second verse gains more meat it becomes pretty hard not to head bang to. Their chug is in full effect as "Hell Comes to Life". While the drumming is impressive the over all feel of the song doesn't feel thought out to me. There is a mosh inducing riff here and there , but my rule is cool riffs alone don't make a song is somewhat challenged here. These guys are old punk rock kids so when it comes to songs that go beyond the three minute marker my interest begins to wane.The guitar solos don't really impress me as they are running off fire alone. "Knifehammer " has also seen the light of day on an earlier release. This version doesn't offer anything that I haven't heard from them before and is aggressive thrash with a dark side.
The vocals stay pretty nasty for " Plague ( Upon the World)". It's like if Dark Angel's guitar player wanted to invent death metal before Chuck Schuldiner. By the end of the song blast beats be damned you can hear this is still thrash. Granted they have gotten heavier since they got their start 8 years ago, but it's rooted in thrash . Partially due to the fact most of this band grew up as punk rock kids not metal heads. When they get into the more straight forward gang vocal filled punk cross roads I find it less appealing. The tight gallop of "Revel in Blasphemy" is much more my thing. The gang vocals resurface and it makes it feel a little like a more metallic version of the previous song. The vocals are snarled in such a rapid that there is no room for melody or for the vocals to form any kind of hook to bring me back to when they are flying at the speed. I am a tough sell on thrash because I was there when the genre hit it's peak and bought Flotsam and Jetsam albums when they came out and saw Overkill in 1988. So having already gotten the shirt.I want to hear where they are trying to show me how they are in these songs. I think their sound has arrived to where they want it and this album was more fun and accurate as to what they really sound like so I'll round it up to an 8. I am not sure this is going to open them up to a wider audience, but makes them a thrash band to keep a ringing ear out for.