Friday, August 13, 2010

Kingdom of Sorrow: Behind the Blackest Tears (2010) Review

I finally got around to Kingdom of Sorrow's sophomore release Behind the Blackest Tears. In case you didn't already know, KoS is the side project of Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta and Crowbar/Down guitarist Kirk Windstein.

I've already hinted on this blog that I am not a fan of Hatebreed. A friend of mine started getting into them several years ago, and I tried to like it. But every song is the same simple crap. And they're not about hate at all--it's borderline homoerotic brotherly love. So, I was surprised a few years ago when I kept hearing this amazing track on Internet radio called "Grieve a Lifetime", and found out Jamey Jasta was involved.

That was of course their eponymous debut, which was OK, but nothing else on the album came even close to that track. I'm happy to say the second time around is much better.

They seem to have come into their own, instead of following the "Crowbreed" sound of the first release. (Incidentally, I think that's an awesome name for a band.) It's much heavier than any of the other projects the two have been involved in, and it works much better when it's mid-pace or slower--check out the title track. The mood they're best at is a blend of sorrow and agonized, festering rage, with the other standout track "From Heroes to Dust" the best example. On the other hand, things don't work very well when they speed up (e.g. "Sleeping Beast").

The Verdict: Kingdom of Sorrow works really well on a mood they have claimed as uniquely their own. But when they try to explore other territory, it sounds too much like Hatebreed. In all, it's a worthwhile sludge metal release, but with all the worthwhile sludge releases this year it doesn't stand out for anything besides star power. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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