The Wounded Kings

Consolamentum

Written by: EW on 01/02/2014 23:22:58

The Great British doom metal heritage has never been short of significant names to contribute to a genre that begun with those tolling church bells at the entrance to "Black Sabbath". The latest name to that list is Devon's The Wounded Kings. Admittedly their name was worthy of induction following the release of their previous LP, 2011's excellent "In the Chapel of the Black Hand", their first record with the haunting vocals of Sherie Neyland which helped smooth out some of the deficiencies of the preceding "The Shadow of Atlantis", but let's just agree "Consolamentum" signs the deal once and for all.

Why the high praise, you might ask? I'm tempted to say just listen to the weighty 13-minute opener "Gnosis" and leave it there, but I won't. The first five minutes of that track, which build up to Neyland's appearance, will take you through a vestige of well-crafted riffing, spiced with the essence of burning wood and ember that comes as part of Chris Fielding's warm, built-for-vinyl production job. Slowly building from a single, distorted guitar drenched in reverb, the track grows into a layered crawl before haunting visions are espoused by Neyland's first contribution: "I saw the devil, he made my shadows flesh". In actuality she is as pleasant as they come, looking far more mumsy than her vocals would ever suggest, but her echoing delivery travels like the mating call of a gathering of witches and works superbly with the tone of the band.

That tone is a thick, sludgy, leaden-weight barrage of crashing riffs, with the guitars of Steve Mills and Alex Kearney often coalescing into one. Not always do they, however, for psychedelic leads can often be round the next corner, alongside a clever usage of the organ, taking the opening of the title track into mind, which builds up a great synth of mystery. Much more than token synth, it is well-crafted and sparingly used so that when it does appear there is none of that over-powering repetition so many metal bands for fall with part-time keys in their sound.

So what could be improved upon in "Consolamentum"? While it doesn't quite have the majesty to cross the territory of 9/10, I'm struggling to conjure up much. From using Neyland's vocals as a howling instrument "The Silence" to the short serene improvisations in "Space Conqueror" and "Elige Magistrum", there is quality behind every minute. Save for missing a riff or two of the kind that have taken their comrades Electric Wizard so far, this is brilliant work from The Wounded Kings which will rightly see theirs, and the name of Britain, at the top table of doom.

8

Download: Gnosis, The Silence
For The Fans Of: Electric Wizard, Jex Thoth, Windhand
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.02.2014
Candlelight Records

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