For Fans Of
It’s not often that an album’s artwork so completely and succinctly encapsulates a band’s entire soundscape. Yet, if one were to gaze upon the epic, natural vista that adorns the cover of ‘Reclaim The Darkness’, the debut album from Aussie metallers King, they’d soon be overcome by the inescapable and all-consuming feeling that they might be in for some truly evil, frosty shit. For the most part, that would be true. With an aural experience that’s akin to being serenaded in a blizzard, listeners are exposed to a stormy maelstrom of melody and melancholy on King’s debut, but thankfully, also given plenty of chances to dig in for the figurative winter and get their bearings.
Across nine fierce tracks, King serves up melodic guitar whirlwinds, pummelling drum bursts, and caps things off with a grim, ‘Frosty-The-Snowman has his balls in a vice and now screams helplessly in perpetual agony’ vocal style. But don’t let asinine descriptors fool you: there’s definitely a critical mass of technical proficiency and idol worship going on within ‘Reclaim The Darkness’ that will warrant deeper exploration. Performing as a three-piece means that not a single, solitary second is wasted in terms of song-writing or the track sequencing. With King’s members coming from well respected, extreme acts like Blood Duster, Pestilence, Ruins and the mighty Psycroptic, there’s a real sense of confidence and professionalism on display with their debut. It’s clear that faithful, heavy-music fans will eagerly dive into King’s sonic melting pot, and there’s something for every type of long-haired listener on offer here.
Longer cuts like ‘Cold Winds’ and ‘Black North’ show threads of black metal giants like Immortal, Gorgoroth, and Satyricon tastefully weaved together as guitarist David Hill pairs sorrowful, elegiac leads against Dave “more machine than man” Haley’s cacophonous drum barrages. Mid-paced ragers like ‘Night Sky Abyss’ and ‘Winter Sons’ showcase the reverence King have paid to classic, European melo-death, with the type of intricate melodies and thrashy breakdown sections that once made In Flames and Soilwork icons of the genre.
Vocalist Tony Forde turns in a fitting and capable effort, with his high screams and shrieking mid-range telling the tale of pitiless journeys, lofty mountain ranges and giants walking the earth on the outstanding ‘My Destination The Stars’ (which sadly, doesn’t seem to be an Alfred Bester reference… but we’ll let that slide). However, what stands as a true testament to King’s remarkable songwriting prowess on ‘Reclaim The Darkness’ is their ability to craft a collection of music so deliberately bleak and mournful, and yet still be able to produce a bonafide anthem like the metal-head war cry that is ‘All In Black’.
Simply put: King aren’t here to fuck around. They’ve announced themselves loudly with the full-frontal metal assault that is ‘Reclaim The Darkness’. If your hair is past your shoulders, you currently own a battle jacket, or sometimes you stare longingly at that gauntlet you purchased once on a whim, knowing deep down that you’d never really be able to pull it off, then this record is most definitely for you. On their debut album, King have produced a world-class level of metal, that sits proudly next to fellow Aussie exports like Be’lakor and Ne Obliviscaris, and is sure to put them comfortably on the international radar. Two horns up.
- Cold Winds
- Reclaim The Darkness
- All In Black
- My Destination The Stars
- Night Sky Abyss
- Winter Sons
- The Journey Begins
- Black North
- One World One