Sounds From The Underground

Sounds From The Underground: Rotting Kingdom – Rotting Kingdom EP Review

*Sounds From The Underground*

Band: Rotting Kingdom
Album: Rotting Kingdom EP
Label: Morbid Records
Genre: Death Doom
Country: USA
Release Date: 14 November, 2017

Rotting Kingdom is a new band from Kentucky composed of members of Tombstalker and other local musicians. They’ve dropped quite a bomb of a record into our midst.

In here, you’re going to find all the sorrow, all the mourning, all the darkness you could ever want to indulge in, but at the same time, you’ll find some hope, some solace, and mostly, you’ll find some amazing tunes.

This is melancholic music for sad times, but it is also heavy and defiant. Make no mistake, this isn’t a record that you sit in your room, all alone, and feel sorry for yourself while listening to. Rotting Kingdom bring the mourning, yes, with melodic, chiming notes, but they also bring the heavy, almost impossibly so. They walk that fine line between light and shade, bringing both in abundance, but one never overshadows the other. Those guitars, man, are so emotive one moment and then so crushing the next. Clay Rice and Kyle Keener deserve kudos for their combined playing as they really deliver, time and time again. The bass—Chuck McIntyre—thunders when it needs to and adds nuance when called upon. The drums—Brandon Glancy—pummel but just as quickly fall aside and ride the cymbals for added atmosphere. And that voice…It will shake your core. You can feel all the misery singer Anton Escobar is baring, straight from his soul. But don’t think that’s all you get. There is righteous fury, and rage, sometimes simmering, sometimes boiling over. It is a bold performance, I think.

Three songs comprise this EP, all of them grand and stirring. Opener “Adrift in a Sea of Souls” is still my favorite, and it’s probably because of that epic beginning. It’s all quiet and reflective, an empty, abandoned boat floating in a black sea of despair, when suddenly the tentacle of a hidden leviathan comes crashing down to shatter it into a thousand pieces. The beast rises from the brine, heavy, staggering, powerful, unrelenting. And then it washes ashore to destroy the seaside town in brutal, savage fashion. That’s what this song does to your soul. Second track “The Castle of Decay” drips with gothic ambiance, and I mean that in the cold, dank castle kind of way. Plenty of atmosphere, plenty of heft, with some crushing riffs. You can almost feel the fog as it rolls across the moors. Final track “Demons in Stained Glass” brings the record around full circle, as we get more of that melodic sadness from the opener, more of those heavy riffs, and even more of that doom from the vocals. This one adds more speed, bringing in an almost slower thrash pace (almost), dropping off into a tiny bass solo (nice touch), before blasting us with some Black and some Death just to make sure you’re paying attention. A little dash of Maiden, some heavy drumming, and man, you’re off into another world entirely. Yet they bring it around again, never losing sight of the Doom in the Death. Expertly done.

This is a record that can match up with the best of a band like Paradise Lost, with nice touches of Pallbearer and some Black thrown in to keep the mix fresh and exciting. The band is releasing a full-length in 2018 so be on the lookout for that, but for now, head to Bandcamp and get yourself a piece of this little slice of dark heaven. A nearly flawless, near-perfectly executed Blackened beauty, guaranteed to have you coming back for more.

Rating: 8/10

1. Adrift in a Sea of Souls
2. The Castle of Decay
3. Demons in Stained Glass

Total Playing Time: 24:11

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