Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Wounded Kings - In the Chapel of the Black Hand

For a little back story, The Wounded Kings formed in 2005 and originated from Dartmoor, England.  In the Chapel of the Black Hand is their third full length album, and first album featuring female vocalist, Sharie Neyland.  I am sure many people were unsure of the sound of the band without the powerful vocals of George Birch, but with the end result, they change was far from disappointing.  Within the past few years, we have seen a rise of female vocalist in the genre of doom, occult rock, and metal in general, and these women add an element of uniqueness, mystique, and power to the genre of doom.  And this album is a perfect example of that because Sharie's vocals on top of the heavy guitar riffs just creates a dreary, depressing, and horrific blend of doom (in a excellent way!).

In the Chapel of the Black Hand is a total of 4 tracks and clocks in at 41:08; so, you know you are in for a long ride of some heavy fucking doom!  A slowly building organ sound from the church of hell slowly builds to become The Cult of Souls, and once the guitars come in, the sacrifice may now commence.  The guitar tone on this record is just so damn crunchy, thick, and ballsy, and to have it accompanied with such menacing slow, down tuned riffs adds to the heaviness displayed.  And to add, Sharie's clean vocals doused with tons of vibrato flowing over the riffs makes her sound possessed, demented, and tortured.  Which leads me to the overall production, the vocals don't overpower the music and vice versa; everything is evenly mixed.  None of the musicians are overly flashy, each instrument works around the riff and the organic nature of the song.  

One may can a 14 minute song keep you enthralled throughout the entire arrangement?  Well, The Wounded Kings add a good element of layers and textures full of organs, feedback, guitar effects, and chants to give the song dynamics.  With all of these elements involved it gives the songs the personality that they are trying to perceived through the lyrics.  As the album is about Sharie (or fictitious character) being sacrificed at the altar and the darkness that lurks around her.  The album closer, In the Chapel of the Black Hand, is a perfect example of the atmosphere of the whole entire album.  If the music doesn't drag you any closer to the dark realm, the closing lyrics of  "The body is gone, but the head needs the soul.  The heart no longer beats, but still the blood it flows" repeating over and over again shall draw you in.  And now we now see the doors to the chapel closing and the sacrifice is complete.

In conclusion, this is an excellent slab of doom and one of the top 10 contenders for heaviest records to come out this year.  The Wounded Kings are back stronger than ever, and without Sharie being on this record, I don't think  the record would sound as evil as it does.  Be doomed!

4 and half dropped A# chugs out of 5

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bands to check out if you haven't already...

Hello everyone, it has been a while since I have published anything on here, but I feel like I am going to keep this alive and do it every once in a while.  As there are plenty of blogs, this is more for keeping friends in the loop or sharing thoughts.  I recently have been digging on some new music, and if you haven't heard these....check em out!

Serpent Venom - Their debut full length Carnal Altar came out in the Fall of this year.  In the vein of Electric Wizard/Black Sabbath.  Long songs, riff-tastic, and just downright heavy.  One of my favorite records of the year.

The Wounded Kings - The English have done it again...One of the heaviest records to come out this year, and the first album with the female vocalist.  She adds an eccentric element of eerie vocal melodies on top of the crushing riffs.  4 long, songs that will take you on a trip!

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - I wish I had a clear vision to describe this band, but the best way I can describe it is that they are heavily influenced by 60s psychedelia rock, but a lot heavier than most bands of that era.  The recording is vintage, the melodies are catchy, the guitar tone is dirty, and the vocals remind me of Big Elf (another awesome band).

The Heavy Eyes - I discovered this guys from other blog sites and the record has been getting a lot of talk.  If you are all about some vintage rock n roll, this is it.  Old school, riffy, and straight to the point.  Many bands do it, but I never get tired of it personally, and this song just rocks the house.

Alright, I will have more music to come, but this should leave you happy for the time being.  I am hope you enjoy it, and if you have any recommendations and what you would like to see on here, let me know.

And with that, I will leave you with the girl pick of the day.  Allison Brie of Mad Men and Community.  Cheers!