Heavy and bleak is the order of the day with the new album from The Wounded Kings, ‘Consolamentum’, but in certain places it shines of quality.
The 7 track album contains (dare I say) only 4 ‘real’ songs, with the other 3 tracks of ~2 mins each consisting of wandering noise.
Of course these are meant to convey atmosphere and a sense of unease but lets talk about the full songs first.
Opener ‘Gnosis’ is a slow and simmering beast.
The guitar and bass tone is suitably fat while the overall production is also quite good. However, its not until the vocals from female front woman Sharie Neyland come in that the track really takes off.
Chilling, atmospheric and dripping with Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard worship, it is the haunting vocals that carry the track.
Similar things are found on ‘Lost Bride’ a meandering track that is boosted solely by the excellent vocals. Title track ‘Consolamentum’ is probably the highlight of the album.
Once again the lyrical spouting of Neyland portray an eerie sense of foreboding throughout and the occasional guitar solo helps add a little colour to an otherwise dreary picture.
Unfortunately the album quality sinks rapidly after the promising first half. ‘The Silence’ is sandwiched between two pointless noise jams that do nothing to serve ‘The Silence’ either as an intro or outro.
The main song itself is instantly forgettable and there is very little here to hold your attention for any of its near 13 minutes. The song sound more like a collection of ideas strung together than a cohesive piece.
The overall impression of the album is as murky as the music contained within it. The Wounded Kings have a stunning singer but they don’t utilize her nearly enough.
Even in songs such as ‘Gnosis’, one is merely left waiting for the vocals to come back and when minutes pass without this it can become grating. Musically, it is standard doom-fare – it’s all been done before.
The band could certainly do with introducing more songwriting nuances into their sound to bring the songs to a higher level but perhaps when it comes to this genre of metal if its not broken than why would they fix it?
Showing promise but needs more focus, one to check for the vocals alone.
2.9 / 5 – Bernard Drumm ::: 28/03/14