Friday, August 02, 2013

Blood Of Kings-Starvation

My Graveyard Productions/Tridroid Records

Earlier this year, at the tail end of January to be precise, I wrote up a piece on Blood of Kings and their self-titled, 2011 demo cassette. As part of my Forgotten Gems series, which admittedly I don't get to as much as I truly would like to, I covered this trio from Seattle, WA which includes Nick Paul (guitar/vocals),
Pete Yore (bass/vocals) and Eric Jelsing (drums). At the time I mentioned how their 4-track demo came across as "old school speed and thrash metal together with elements of traditional heavy metal and US power metal". Again, that was at the tail end of January when I first discovered the band and actually got my hands on their 2011 demo. Here we are now in August of 2013 and I'm looking and listening to this 7-track album as I do this write-up. Prior to sliding this CD into my stereo I did go back to revisit that 2011 demo. Why? Well, I figured a quick listen was in order before I tackled "Starvation" just so there was some perspective. It's always good to see/hear how far a band has come between releases with Blood Of Kings being no different. And yes, for the record,  they've come far from the demo released in 2011 to this new album released in 2013. That's not to say that their demo wasn't good as it was. The group's unique combination of heavy metal, power metal, speed metal and thrash metal was solid then and it's more of the same here...only better. That makes sense as they have had more time to gel and nail down their distinct sound and style. So, this new album, which was released at the tail end of April, was recorded with Tad Doyle back in September 2012 at Witch Ape Studios in Seattle. As the band comes across as more of a cult/underground trio anyway, and a good one at that, the album's low-key/subtle production, plays to their strengths. Here is a band that leans more towards 80's metal then modern metal anyway so any good producer would steer this band towards a "less is more" production anyway. It just makes good sense and on "Starvation" you get a feel for a real metal band warts and all. Old school fanatics should appreciate where we're going with this. Even so everything is right where it should be and you'd be hard pressed to complain about either the production or the music on this new album. I will say this though, if the raw and raspy, grit-filled lead vocals that were on display on the group's demo didn't suit your tastes then "Starvation" isn't likely to sit well with you either. To these ears it was the sound of underground metal done right with those raspy lead vocals only adding to the cult vibe of Blood Of Kings. Then, as is now, they came rumbling out as a sort of combination Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) and Mike Dean (C.O.C.) only with a bit more of a scratchy wash-over. It's understandable that those kind of vocals, which are obviously not clean and/or smooth, are not for everyone. But, I'd like to make the argument that it simply adds to overall raw style and rough sound that defines this Seattle, Washington 3-piece. That sound comes from all of the different elements that Blood Of Kings brings to the table. On the group's Facebook page you'll find a list of influences that runs the gamut from Mercyful Fate to GBH and it's that exact sort of open-mindedness that makes Blood Of Kings their own kind of band. This band pulls from all of that and mixes it up to give the listener one hell of a metal experience on "Starvation". This is one album that will end up in heavy rotation!

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