Friday, April 17, 2015

Kings Destroy - S/T

Imagine music wasn’t invented until five minutes ago, and you’re about to listen to the new self-titled album from Kings Destroy with no prior experience hearing music ever, because it didn’t exist.  We’ve been trained to associate greatness with distinctiveness, so, on some level, we think that’s how we ought to listen to a new record:  without comparing it to or even acknowledging any other music. 

The counter-argument is that all those years spent pummeling your ears with thousands of derivative bands in order to discover gems like YOB and Pentagram is exactly what resulted in your ability to dig what Kings Destroy is doing.  You have to listen to eons’ worth of music so your ears and brain can learn to decipher the elements of what you consider quality… don’t you?

I think you do, and that’s why I make no apologies for appreciating a good point of reference.  On the new Kings Destroy, I hear Trouble.  I hear post-metal.  I hear mid-70s-era Scorpions.  Maybe a tiny bit of Agnostic Front.  We think we want originality, but really, most of us seek out new bands based on their commonalities with what we already know we like.  Why not embrace that?  I’m not saying I want everything new to sound like something I’ve already heard.  I’m saying that a perceptible undergrowth of well-digested influences isn’t a bad thing.  That clicking-into-place feeling when I noticed the NWOBHM nods on the new Kings record created an immediate familiarity that made me even more inclined to want to like it.

And I do like it.

Kings Destroy pack grim, contained aggression into churning mini-epics.  Clean, somber vocals communicate struggle and resignation.  Occasional harmonized guitar solos and brief up-tempo sections break up lumbering riff passages before things get too bleak, so there’s never a feeling of dragging or sinking.  The lyrics allude to long-ago battles and down-the-block building fires.

I don’t think Kings Destroy’s NYHC roots come across stylistically as much as psychologically.  This isn’t hardcore.  It’s contemporary, metallic sludge that sounds like it was written by guys who obsessively watched Escape from New York and The Warriors.  But it does radiate hardcore.  It’s raw, pissed-off, and aching.  It’s the unwelcoming, meatgrinder city.  It’ll beat your ass and never ask itself why.  And, all my talk of reference points aside, it blends originality and authenticity in exactly the right proportions for my taste.

Kings Destroy will be released on LP, CD and digitally on May 5th, 2015 via War Crimes Recordings.

- MeteorJadd

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