Kingdom Of Sorrow

Behind The Blackest Tears

Written by: AP on 01/10/2010 15:48:23

Kingdom of Sorrow have done the unexpected in becoming a genuine band, rather than yet another celebrity supergroup that puts out one album, raises some brows, and then quietly disbands when its members return to their day jobs in other bands. This is perhaps because both Jamey Jasta and Kirk Windstein have accustomed legendary status with their respective bands Hatebreed and Down, for whom putting out one release every two years is neither necessary nor desirable. Consequently the duo has all the time in the world to focus on other projects like writing a follow-up to their self-titled debut album.

It would be far too simplistic to describe "Behind the Blackest Tears" as merely a Hatebreed-meets-Down concoction, but really there is no description more befitting the chugging gruffness and slow-burning Southern sludge on offer here. But where on the previous effort the two musical backgrounds met halfway, here the songs lean more toward Down than Hatebreed - something that is evident even in Jamey Jasta's vocals. His trademark pissed off roar is still present on barn burners like "Enlightened to Extinction", "Monuments of Ash", "Sleeping Beast" and "Salvation Denied", but large chunks of the lyricism are now delivered by Windstein with a distinct Southern mugginess reminiscent, indeed, of Phil Anselmo. As such Kingdom of Sorrow has transitioned from a predictable hardcore and Southern metal hybrid into a full-fledged swamp monster.

Brooding, groove-laden songs like "God's Law in the Devil's Land", "Envision the Divide", "Along the Path to Ruin" and "The Death We Owe" might sound like Down B-sides, but Jasta's contributions, both lyrical and vocal, give these songs their own voice and meter, with the result that unlike the previous album, "Behind the Blackest Tears" grows to be more than simply a sum of its parts. Still, the true highlight here is the one song which ascribes to neither persona. "From Heroes to Dust" sounds like a Machine Head anthem: a slow, crushingly heavy epic featuring a chilling vocal duet courtesy of Jasta and Windstein, not to mention the most memorable chorus on this album.

And yet on some level "Behind the Blackest Tears" fails to make the desired impact on me. Apart from this anthemic singularity the album is the antonym of selling out and cashing in, featuring but two humble gentlemen collaborating to create not the music people would instantly expect from them, but exactly what Jasta and Windstein want. The sound on this solid piece of work is more cohesive than on the previous effort, but unable to escape the giant shadows that Hatebreed and Down cast on them.


Download: God's Law in the Devil's Land, Behind the Blackest Tears, From Heroes to Dust, The Death We Owe
For the fans of: Crowbar, Down, Hatebreed
Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.06.2010

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