Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Wounded Kings: Consolamentum (2014)

Jolly Olde England

What a name that is! The Wounded Kings: Vaguely occult and majestic, which turns out to be quite suggestive of the music they play.

I’ve been complaining lately that the doom metal releases of the last year or so have been underwhelming, but Consolamentum may well be the first step in rectifying that situation. And what better place to start than in unadulterated, capital-D, Doom Metal. This is as pure as it gets. They’re too slow to be mistaken for any kind of rock music, so a direct Black Sabbath comparison is out. Yet they’re not slow enough to be funeral doom, and not fuzzy enough to be stoner doom. They’re just, right there, right in that definitive place, and staking it out once again for jolly old England.

The first chord of “Elige Magistrum” sounds like the first chord of “Into the Void.” That’s neat, but not really illuminating. Rather than the almost bouncy up-and-down of most “pure” doom metal (The Gates of Slumber or Lord Vicar), this is a slow plod the whole way through. Ordinarily a doom record that never picks up the pace gets a big thumbs-down from me, and a little advice about dynamics. The Wounded Kings don’t need it: They don’t bang on the same riff over and over for three minutes at a stretch. Who knew that’s all it would take? Of course, memorable riffs and a subtle organ accompaniment don’t hurt.

OK, they do occasionally slow it down even more to showcase their other strength. Sharie Neyland’s vocals are sultry, husky, and downright witchy. A young Stevie Nicks casting spells.

If you’re not typically a doom fan, there’s absolutely nothing different about this that’s going to make you take notice. But if you love doom, this is about as solid as it gets.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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