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Friday 22 November 2019

Reviews: KING, Despised Icon, Lionheart, Silked & Stained (Matt, Zach, Liam & Stief )

KING: Coldest Of The Cold (Indie Recordings) (Matt Bladen)

Aussie Blackened Metal anyone? Not the country that would make you think of the frozen tundra, usually associated with the genre but KING are an Australian band who clearly have ice in their veins. Coldest Of The Cold is their sophomore album three years in the making and it’s full of the frostbitten black metal anthems but with moments of melody rather than just automated battery. Think Immortal or Satyricon and you’ll on the right iceberg as the destructive blastbeats and tremolo riffs give way to folkier and clean passages on the title track, these more melodic moments returning throughout the record giving you time to take breath during the frenzied attacks of glacial force. KING’s debut was critically acclaimed with many mistaking the band for one who were deep into their discography not on their debut.

However Coldest Of The Cold ups their output again bringing a bigger musical scope, at times it’s almost cinematic One More War especially begs to be played through good speakers. What’s remarkable is that KING are just three men Tony Forde whose scream are pained and raw, David Hill who abuses the fretboard like politicians do the truth and David Haley, who is a one man artillery barrage. They slow for the moody opening to King but soon it builds again, layered with blackened metal trappings on the albums most atmospheric song, that brings to mind Alcest while Ways Of The Forest has a bit of Amon Amarth to it mixing extremity with traditional metal twin axe harmonies. Coldest Of The Cold is brilliant blackened metal album from a band still early in their career, if they evolve from here then they may be real force to be reckoned with. 8/10

Despised Icon: Purgatory (Nuclear Blast) [Zach Williams]

If I had to choose between METAL bands and CORE bands (death metal vs deathcore, for example) I would choose metal every single time. I must have once heard a grindcore band I didn’t like and simply dismissed the whole genre, even though that type of generalisation really winds me up when it comes to heavy music. I have unwittingly reduced myself to the level that person you work with who ‘doesn’t understand how you can listen to shouty bands’. What I am trying to say is that Purgatory – the latest offering from Canadian Deathcore legends Despised Icon – made me realise I’m a hypocrite.

This record really has a lot to offer. The first thing that stands out to me is the drumming. I had no idea the human body could move that fast. I am not a fan of the overuse of breakdowns in metal but these feel warranted just to give poor Alex Pelletier a break – and he STILL blasts through most of them. I also like the duality of the vocals. It’s a really great mix of guttural pig squeals and old school hardcore vocal patterns (fun fact - the vocals are so blisteringly heavy I was halfway through the track Vies D’Anges before I realised they were singing in French). If you like your music fast, technical and uncompromising in its brutality then Purgatory is not an album you want to miss. 7/10

Lionheart: Valley Of Death (Sharptone Records) [Liam True]

Hardcore music. Real lyrics. World domination. Two of these things have already been conquered by Lionheart. The third is well on it’s way. I don’t really like Hardcore music, but Lionheart change the tape for me. It’s Hardcore without being Hardcore. The build ups, lyrical content and brutal bone-smashing instrumentals are there. They one thing they need to do now, is tour this absolute banger of a record. From start to finish it’s a blood pumping adrenaline ride through the Californian five piece wrecking crew. ‘If I said it, then I meant it!’

Screams frontman Rob. Calling out music reviewers, bloggers and everyone else on For The Record, they don’t shy away from making their feelings toward the entire world known. There’s not a single bad song on the album which makes it hard to pick a favourite song. If you’re going to listen to this album make sure it’s in a single sitting. No breaks or distractions. It’s a testament to the Hardcore scene and you’ll owe it to yourself to play it. Dropping an album during a tour (Lionheart currently being on their European album release tour) is a bold move, but LH work it in their favour and hold the title, for me personally, the best Hardcore record of the year! 10/10

Silked & Stained: Goes Up To Eleven (Lions Pride Music) [Stief Illingworth]

Silked & Stained are an interesting one to listen to. Seamlessly shifting from solid hard rock in How Many Miles To Heaven to the brilliantly synth filled opening of Come Closer, each song is a new outlook on heavy rock, and keeps you looking forward to what’s coming. Haris Mos’ vocals are great, never pushing himself too far, and he’s backed up by guitarist Tony Gavalas and drummer Orpheus Lazz on many of the songs, giving a great layered effect. Tommy Fotiadis's chugging bass gives a great underlying groove to the album, and Gavalas’ riffs and licksare almost filthy in places (in a good way of course!) While many people who know me are aware of my feelings on too much hard rock, Silked & Stained are one of those bands that make me want to take a step back and maybe delve into it again.Top notch music from start to finish! 8/10

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