The Wounded Kings - Visions In Bones

The Wounded Kings - Visions In Bones

(CD, Candlelight Records, 2016)

Sadly, THE WOUNDED KINGS are no more; they announced their split-up 14 days before the release of their fifth and swan song-album “Visions In Bones”. To some, this fact may mean nothing, but to me, this is really sad news. You see, there are some bands out there that no matter the over-saturated genre they serve, they have something unique to offer (and make this world a bit more tolerant, ha), so for my Doom-y taste, the fine Englishmen definitely belong(ed) to this category. In any case, let’s get a closer look to what the occult / psych Doomsters from Devon are offering before dropping the curtain for the last time.

“Visions In Bones” contains five larger-than-life, epic Doom tracks where the enthusiasm, the creativity and the hunger of its creators thrive in every corner. Perhaps this is why it feels really weird, awkward and... (add whatever word comes to mind) their decision to leave the stage at the top of their game, even before a stellar and so-inspiring album like this had seen the (final) light of day. Some might say that the eerie-ness of the opener “Beast” will instantly hook you, or the dynamics of “Kingdom” will make the hair on the back of your neck rise up, but the truth is that these guys have never released a mediocre / average album, so why this should be expected now? Indeed, this album is no exception and, in fact, continues the non-stop tradition that wants THE WOUNDED KINGS putting out solid and inspiring works, so “Visions In Bones” proudly comes as last and the closes the (studio) door. The 14-minutes long “Beast” and its bass-driven SABBATH-esque catchiness reveal a huge colorful Doom palette with all the band’s influences. Tons of grooves, fuzzy riffs and Prog accents pop up, step into first-class-induced psychedelia without sounding repetitive or boring; and why should they? I mean, these guys know their game, and here they’re doing it as the founding godfathers of the genre did, a long time ago. George Birch’s ethereal-effected-like vocals fit like glove to hand to the overall atmosphere, and properly prepare the listener for the next track, “Vultures”. Here, CATHEDRAL and Gaz Jennings may come to mind as some strong points of reference, but again, THE WOUNDED KINGS push the inspiring-envelope a bit further, and create a pretty bleak / less hippie 8-minute track that its hypnotic hooks and Birch’s hair-rising reading are one of a kind.

One thing that makes me sad while listening to this album is that we’ll never get the chance to experience live tracks like “Kingdom”. The pummeling drumming, the groovier-than-groove tempo and the swinging-Doom guitar work will be missed from the venues and from our lives, so yeah, this is a real bummer. And even though this band isn’t known for making short-in-time-duration tracks, the 4-minute soul-crushing “Bleeding Sky” and its dreamy mood is probably one of the contents of this album that stayed the longest to my daily playlist; its numb-y, CANDLEMASS-esque crushing made my speakers to pump-up like crazy for days. And in case you haven’t gotten the chills yet, wait till last track “Vanishing Sea” hits in, with the marche-funebre-type of intro riffing and the endless echo until the moment a male voice appears saying “the death is not an ending, or the beginning” before passing the baton to a pretty mournful piano melody... Just amazing!

Some people say that a living-entity can win death and the endless oblivion, if his name achieves to stand the test of time. To my eyes, with their final opus, THE WOUNDED KINGS definitely passed this test with flying colors, and I bet their name will be written in the big Book of Doom with golden letters, next to the REVEREND BIZARRE one; yup, they are that great and legendary. Long live THE KINGS!

9/10


Links:

www.Myspace.Com/TheWoundedKings2
www.Twitter.com/TheWoundedKings


Tracklist:

01. Beast
02. Vultures
03. Kingdom
04. Bleeding Sky
05. Vanishing Sea


Lineup:

George Birch - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Steve Mills - Guitar
Myke Heath - Drums
Alex Kearney - Bass