JOHN TRON DAVIDSON
The evolution of any artist is always interesting, especially the deeper you delve into the underground. This is especially true when a band is comprised of artists from other bands, and in the case of King Heavy, that means members of Hooded Priest, Mourner's Laments, Noctus and Procession. No strangers to doom, these Chilean musicians assembled at a festival in 2005, and return to the recording arena with GUARDIAN DEMONS, their first release since Horror Absoluto in 2015.
With only one track operating under the 6 minute mark, there’s no mistaking what genre King Heavy are predisposed to. Opener ‘Guardian Demon’ clocks in at over 7 minutes, and immediately the most divisive aspect of this oddly likeable band is made apparent. The vocals of lead singer Luce made DTF think of an uncertain Serj Tankian, and as the record presses on, they start to manifest an almost improvised feel. It must be said that outside of this is some sturdy, quality doom, and repeated listens yield some admirable touchstones.
HORROR ABSOLUTO was as slack as a bag of ties, the band playing endearingly loosely, but Guardian Demons is a focused, determined affair from the very start. There’s a real humility to the lyricism, particularly on ‘Doom Shall Rise’, and this record as a whole seems to be a paean to the liberating power of the occult musical arts. Hands are raised, disciples follow and hope is summoned through being in a loud, heavy band, something that King Heavy don’t take for granted.
There’s hints of Winter, Warhorse, old NWOBHM, latter day Primordial and even some early Danzig in amongst these sizeable stone pillars, and tracks like ‘Cult Of The Cloven Hoof’ have a right old romp about them. It’s hard to imagine this group of individuals having a boring record collection, that’s for sure; although the production keeps the drums at the front, there’s plenty of dynamics on display throughout the six lengthy pieces that make up this dependable record. Extra points go to the bass, which manages to be raspingly huge without dominating the mix.
Doom is in a pretty healthy state at this point in time, and enjoying something of a renaissance. King Heavy have openly shown their working, gradually coagulating into a more and more potent entity with each recording and every gig. Guardian Demons won’t change anyone’s life - the vocals are still a bit too slack for that - but judging from the gap between the previous record and this one, their next release should be something special. Sturdy.
King Heavy are:
(Death Is But An Extreme Form Of) Narcosis
Doom Shall Rise
Cult Of The Cloven Hoof
Come My Disciples
As In A Nightmare
Find out more from King Heavy at: https://www.facebook.com/kingheavydoom/