King – “Coldest Of Cold” (Indie Recordings)
Battle Helm Rating
When I first heard King’s “Reclaim The Darkness” back in 2016, I was certain this was yet another stellar Scandinavian epic black metal band following in the footsteps of their acclaimed ancestors. How wrong I was given they are from the other side of the world namely, Australia! That said, King’s sound is no doubt inspired by legendary battles and bleak winters as forged by pagan gods, with influences from Dissection, In Flames and Immortal being equally nobly present. Formed in 2013 by David Hill (guitars) and vocalist Tony Forde, there was much contemplation and many a forest walk before the forging began and indeed, the big atmospheric sound achieved by the 3 musicians (completed by drummer David Haley) is truly impressive in its emotional reach, no doubt owed to the experience from touring Australia and New Zealand several times, including support slots for Paradise Lost and Enslaved! With Hill’s thick guitar rolling out the riffs but equally plenty of heart stirring Nordic melodies, Haley’s double bass delivery and percussive inspirations set the beautiful, yet breathtaking soundscape over which Forde’s evil drawls exude their own hooks on the 10 catchy tracks making up this superb sophomore. Charging in on ‘Conquer’ with rampaging drums and metallic riff mayhem, the arctic blast is immediately felt as the icy melodies grip you as the song gallops off, twisting and turning on its dark path. Unleashing the flowing melodies on ‘One More War’, the uplift is incredible as Haley powers the song through his intense drum work as Forde screams, together making for a strong epic sound allowing you to feel you are indeed part of some great conflict – excellent! Taking a subtler approach on ‘Star’, King’s talent doesn’t allow the track to falter in any way, but rather confidently exhibit its own power through ever building intensity as the epic guitar melodies increase along with the drum power, while Forde’s drawls remain constant throughout in sharp contrast – wow. It’s even more clearer on ‘Ways Of The Forest’ which has a slightly more modern feel with its chiming and rippling epic melodies awash throughout this number, but no less in its dramatic appeal that goes straight to the heart. Ending the album as frantically as it began on ‘My Master, My Sword, My Fire’ with its thick riffing, double bass drumming and Forde mixing drawls with slight gutturals, the catchy rolling chorus is actually what makes the track so appealing. Continuing the impressive shout out from down under, never let it be said that it can’t be cold in Australia after listening to King!