Kingdom – Sepulchral Psalms From The Abyss Of Torment (2016)

Polish death metal monsters Kingdom are back with a brand new album, which Metal Archives seems to think is their best. It sounds a bit undercooked and raw in some areas to me, but definitely does what it’s meant to do, which is to pound your face into the dirt with the speed of an F1-Racer and the heat of a blazing inferno. The drums are absolutely furious here as SLW creates the perfect level of atmosphere between what can be that of grimy brutal death and gloomy grooves. LWN has the kind of vocal approach that we might expect from a mutated Warthog or one of those imps from the classic Doom games. The intro and title track alone begins with some very odd musings that seem to involve a whole lot of static amidst harsh vocal epithets that feel almost ripped literally from a kind of digital hell. It’s then that the band get going, as they mix their brand of traditional death metal together with some of the more modern brutal death tropes that I’ve already mentioned. “Monolith Of Death” may have been more of a punisher, but the slow-grooves and Bolt Thrower vibe of “Forsaken Tribe” seem to show a whole different kind of band. LWN even sands down his edges a little to allow for once again, a classic approach to the genre. Though these gentlemen have only been together since ’03, there’s a great deal of classic death to be found oozing out from within the veins of this project and if you respect the old slabs in any manner, you should be able to find something in it. I

t’s not quite a “what you see is what you get” affair, because of the many different nodes in structure that make up these pieces as the relatively short listen continues on. There are even some guitar solos in areas, which LWN utilizes every now and again for that old-school grit. Upon listening to the record a third time, I start to feel that my undercooked comment might have been a bit erroneous. At first it seemed a bit undercooked, but as I began to soak in the listen and truly understand what kind of raw approach these gentlemen were going for, it began to make a great deal of sense. Not to mention the fact that they really did try to make every song sound just a tiny bit different than each other by utilizing a different gimmick – Mega Man style death metal if I’ve ever seen it. Check out SLW’s performance at the very beginning of “Abyss Of Torment.” It’s essentially an opening drum solo, which is nearly unheard in this genre. In a world of guitar solos, I’ve only ever really heard drum solos offered during live performances. I’m not quite sure why that is, but the skinsman here is clearly talented and deserves a chance to show off on this very different, very unique sort of death metal listen that reminds me of the days when you would actually want to sit down and listen to a death metal disc. Metal Archives reviewers are claiming a little bit of Morbid Angel here and I’d be a fool to tell you that I’m not hearing a bit of Domination within these doom-soaked death marches, but it’s a little more than that as you’ll soon come to find out.

This disc may have released just last year, but these seven tracks and the bonus Darkthrone cover of “Cromlech” seem to fit just right as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel that anyone will have a problem with this one, but getting enough ears on it is the real problem. Let me just put it this way – Kingdom have crafted a great classic death metal album with modern elements that blow away even some of the biggest names in the modern scene. Given the choice, I would rather listen to this record over a great deal of the death metal offerings I’ve been given and have abruptly passed by because they just didn’t have any substance. Substance in heavy metal is lacking sorely, because every eight out of ten death metal acts just want to play loud brutal music, forgetting the fact that they’ve essentially written the same song ten to twelve times and called it a day. I won’t say that Kingdom are the saviors of the genre, but this is definitely the right way to go about changing the paradigm. If you’re looking for actual death metal, I would highly recommend picking up Sepulchral Psalms From The Abyss Of Torment.

(8 Tracks, 34:00)



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