The King Is Blind
Our Father

The UKs The King is Blind appeal to me on a few levels. One, they hail from my old Hereward the Wake stomping grounds in East Anglia. Two, they feature former members of Entwined (an almost famous goth doom metal band from the 90s that released an album on Earache and were thought to be the next great UK doom act to take Paradise Lost‘s mantle). Three, Paul Ryan of Cradle of Filth and The Blood Divine (see Entwined note above- ditto) plays guitars. Four, they are the first signing on the newly reactivated Cacophonous Records, who for those my age, will recall as one of the more important UK metal labels of the 90s releasing early albums from Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Gehenna, Primordial and Bal-Sagoth.  And I guess, five- this is a REALLY good album.

I heard the band’s prior EP, The Deficiencies of Man, last year and got a bit of a Bolzer vibe, being a churning but still well crafted and almost rock n roll, catchy form of discordant death metal, But on the band’s full length debut, there is even more going on. And much like country mates Vallenfyre, you get supergroup vibe that culls a little from everyone’s previous bands and projects.

The style, while certainly death metal (“Amen” as well opener “Genesis Refracted” come charging out of the gate with pure death metal ferocity, belying the rest of the album’s variety and depth), and the Bolzer sound is still there, has nuances and tangents all over the metal map- goth, doom, black and others. The easiest thing to do would be to direct you to the above video for “For All The Daemons are Gathered”  and let the death/black metal romp  speak for itself. Or even go listen to “Venin” or penultimate track “Devoured” (with a sweet little stoner groove), but still you would not grasp everything that is going on. It can be exhaustive, especially at almost 50 minutes, and some long song run times, but it’s also really engaging for a patient, detailed listener.

The overall sound is churning, muddy and muted, but nor forced and with some depth, not crunchy or mid range or huge and cavernous but very layered. And while certainly death/doom metal, it’s much more. The riffs, like Bolzer twist  and lurch, but have a crafty sense of purpose and melody, even when in a more experimental/doomy realm. And those around for Entwined or The Blood Divine‘s Awaken, might have a some sense of some of the doomier/goth moods that flutter in and out of the controlled chaos (i.e 9 minute closer “Mesmeric Furnace”).

I can see the Voices/Akercocke crowd getting into this as it has the same unpredictability and progressive, boundary shattering  take on death/doom/black metal but without getting soft or Opeth-y and keeping things tangibly British and weird. Cacophonous, with this and The Infernal Sea, another new UK act are off to a great start with their comeback. Now how about a new Bal Sagoth release or special edition?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
March 2nd, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay

    Kick ass review Erik! Despite life giving me a bit of an ass-kicking right now, something about this killer write-up and the description made me check the album out and I was really into what I heard. Love the variety on hand here. “Devoured” sold me, but I dug the hell out of every song.


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