King Heavy – King Heavy (2015)

Author: Dave

Band: King Heavy

Album: King Heavy

Label: Cruz del Sur Music

This is the debut full-length album of a Chilean band with a Belgian vocalist, which is not something you see too often. They are a traditional doom metal project with a very classic doom sound to them. Their vocalist sings a good bit lower than most doom vocalists but still manages to the pull off the epic sound and timbre of doom legends like Messiah Marcolin. At first listen, they sound like a cleaner and more polished version of Saint Vitus. But with repeated listens, you will find that King Heavy do far more than merely ape their predecessors.

But in spite of this, I found this to be a difficult album to review. It’s very enjoyable, the vocals are nothing short of excellent, and the fuzzy low-register riffs are every bit as memorable as they are heavy. But it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what makes this album so appealing. I think if I had to summarise the album in a single sentence, it would be this: this album is carried almost completely by riffs. Now, how does that make this album any different from any other metal album? Well, for starters, there isn’t any fiery virtuosity to show off here. The percussion and guitarwork are both solid and tasteful but without any excessive, exotic fanfare to them. You won’t hear any blast beats or sweep picking, and the bassist does his job of providing a solid foundation to the band without jumping all over the fretboard. I guess what it comes down to is that King Heavy is a prime example of a band whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I mean much greater.

The only exception to this is the vocalist, who sings with a glorious and epic baritone vibrato that stands out almost immediately. In fact, his performance alone on this album is enough to set King Heavy apart from a good bit of other doom bands. He evokes a certain melancholy feeling, that is at once majestic and yet full of despair at the same time. Not only that, but he possesses an enormous range for a metal singer, venturing all the way down to the D two octaves below the middle C on the short acoustic track entitled “The Crowning”. Most male vocalists can’t sing anywhere near that low, and certainly not with the perfect tone that he has.

The album ends with a pounding eleven-minute epic entitled “He Who Spoke in Tongues” which serves as an excellent closer to the album. This track, like much of the rest of the album showcases King Heavy’s ability to perform many facets of solid doom metal: they are equally good at executing the slow, marching riffs that pound the songs forward, as well as the faster sections driven by the single-string riffs that are characteristic of a lot of the classic doom metal releases from the eighties.

So if you like the traditional doom sound, you will find plenty of those fat, buzzing riffs to chew on. And if you like epic doom metal, these vocals will absolutely enchant you. I strongly recommend this album to any lover of doom metal, and if you’ve been on the lookout for newer releases that hearken back to the Golden Age, this is a fantastic piece to check out.

8.5/10

  • Dave

Check ’em out here: https://www.facebook.com/kingheavydoom

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