It could be stated, with few arguments, that the British Isles have done more for the advancement of doom metal than any other part of the world. It could also be argued that if you were to make up a list of the greatest doom metal bands of all-time that it would have more than its fair share of bands from that corner of the globe appear on it. But while England continued to churn out some killer doom over the last 15-20 years, the rest of the world seemingly caught up. From California to Sweden and everywhere in between, doom metal, in all its unique and wonderful forms, grew up and blew up so that for some non-historians of metal, British doom became a footnote. Enter The Wounded Kings, a band that has the potential to return the doom metal crown back to its rightful owners.
First and foremost, The Wounded Kings do not play some doom metal off-shoot. This isn’t stoner rock or sludge metal. This is doom the way the great forefathers of the genre intended it. Expansive, oppressive columns of sound flow from your speakers whenever you engage The Wounded Kings in their new opus, Consolamentum. Punctuated by the harrowing and ghostly wails of front woman, Sharie Neyland, The Wounded Kings have crafted an album of almost nightmare-inducing proportions in both heaviness and mysticism. It’s a downright other-worldly adventure with dark tales, almost spoken in a witch-like delivery, delivered over top of some of the most occult sounding doom this side of Electric Wizard.
The Wounded Kings have been pummeling, mostly European, audiences for some time now, twice appearing at the famed Roadburn festivities. But with a new deal in place with powerhouse label, Candlelight Records, Consolamentum will prove to be the album that truly cracks open worldwide markets for The Wounded Kings. Good thing to, because as stellar as their previous releases were (including a killer split release with Cough), it’s this album where The Wounded Kings have fully hit their stride. Tracks like album opener “Gnosis” and the title track are bound to become neo-doom classics, with their talk of the Devil’s wares and minions and riffs that just crush everything in sight. Neyland’s performance on the entire record is stunning. She’s peerless in a certain respect in her ability to give the music this almost trance like feeling where there really shouldn’t or couldn’t be. The juxtaposition of her vocals and the slow motion, bombastic musical explosions behind her is the sonic equivalent of getting massaged and knee-capped all at the same time. It’s an often disorienting feeling not unlike a bad trip of some sorts. However, instead of waking, begging the Universe for forgiveness for ever tasting some forbidden nectar, you’re immediately hitting the play button again begging for more.
Consolamentum is out in the US on February 25 via Candlelight. Visit the band’s Facebook page for more details.