To Kill A King

Cannibals With Cutlery

Written by: HES on 02/12/2013 18:37:27

I first discovered To Kill A King as the warm up act for the British Bastille this November. The London-based band was formed in 2009 and have been compared to everything from The National to Frightened Rabbit as they have gained fame from touring with Bastille and Dog Is Dead but also by playing gigs themselves places like Reading and Leeds Festival. "Cannibals With Cutlery" is their first full-length album and was released all too subtly in February - the re-release took place October 7th with extra "deluxe"-material which basically makes this album a summary of To Kill A King's first years in business.

To Kill A King has a very particular sound that is most easily described as "warm". Drums, bass and rhythm guitar form a dense base for other instruments like strings, horns and guitar to break through. The contrast works quite well when the band ventures into more contrapuntal and rhythmically changing parts of their music. Especially the track "Choices" is a good example of this, almost consisting of two different songs merged into one, but without any contradiction or loss as a consequence. Lead singer Ralph Pelleymounter's voice is characterized by glottal pressure and throatyness.

The tracks of the album switches between grandiose harmonies and musical minimalism, making the album very contrasty in its expression and by doing so it demands a bit of its listener. The poppy refrains of "Cold Skin", "Rays" and "Funeral" makes one follow through the album's ups and downs. The “deluxe edition” also contains a back catalogue of four acoustic/alternative versions of songs from the band's two former EP's. Especially the acoustic rendition of one of my favourite songs "Howling" strikes an emotional chord. Album opener "I Work Nights And You Work Days" is borderline corny with it's quiet piano opening, but sweeps you off your feet with the supporting violins - they're on the other hand not corny as violins usually are, but more a supporting actress in the composition. To Kill a King's strength is their ability to be graciously romantic, but never vulgar. First single of the album "Fictional State" is a bit downtoned in its expression and not as explorative as some of the other tracks.

All in all "Cannibals With Cutlery" is a great first album that To Kill a King can be proud of. Some of the songs do feel a bit like "filler" at the first couple of listens, but it's really a matter of the album being very dense. I personally felt that it opened up for me slowly with each listen. I wish the band had utilized Pelleymounter's voice a bit more though, as it often becomes a little monotone. This is probably a matter of style - but it makes the album a bit too laid-back for my liking. However you cannot refuse that this album is a well-layered album with lots of small pieces and very individual sounds, hooks and effects. Where many bands in the indie-bracket often rely on conventions, To Kill a King seems to be up for challenging the audience and that's something I applaud.

Download: Rays, Choices, Cold Skin, I Work Nights And You Work Days
For The Fans Of: The National, Frightened Rabbit, Coldplay

Release Date 07.10.2013
Xtra Mile Recordings

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