Kneel Before None by Death of KingsRelease date: June 2, 2017
Label: Boris Records
Old-school thrash mixed with some old-school heavy metal your choice of poison? Death of Kings’ latest album, Kneel Before None, might get you as excited as an eighteen-year-old on a first date with the most popular girl in school without either’s parents around to spoil the fun. The solos are to die for. The riffs gallop along nicely. The band likes to shred while implementing the use of blastbeats. The band incorporate a variety of elements, but it doesn’t clearly show. That’s because Death of Kings seamlessly weave them all together cohesively, mixing them like a bartender would for a tasty concoction that gets you drunk faster than anything on earth while pleasing your taste buds with the one glass it takes to get you tipsy.
More thrash than galloping NWOBHM, Death of Kings don’t sound too close to any Big Four of Thrash alum. Their music is closer stylistically to early Testament, mixed with a little punk and a little modern thrash similar to that of Havok.
It’s nice to note that although the drums are behind in the mix, the drummer uses quality fill-ins in good measure. The rhythm guitar steals the show for the most part, anchoring the melodies and chugging, shredding riffs with gusto, never stopping for breakdowns that would turn off most thrash and heavy metal fans. The production is adequate, in spite of the drums sounding a little obscure, especially in light of the drummer’s performance here. The band may have opted for less sheen in the production to compare more closely to genre greats in the eighties.
No particular song stands out as highlight. Kneel Before None uses the runtime effectively, never utilizing superfluous ambient interludes or spoken word samples that aren’t typical for the style. Like said, they play mostly uptempo, keeping the fun meter up constantly. Fans into a good listen for a full-length album’s worth won’t get bored with Kneel Before None.
Never over-simplistic or unnecessarily drastic in composition or song structure, the band keep things short enough for fans to follow and nod along, and long enough never to create the sensation that a track or two linger too excessively. The band’s jamming must have fine-tuned these tracks to trim the fat or helped them improve the songs so they’re stage friendly and ready for live shows where their material will shine the most.
A short write-up is perfect for this album. It’s a full-length album’s worth of quality metal, without christening the band the next big band like Metallica et al. These guys have an album’s worth of polished, well-executed metal to add to their resume as a band, and if few people come to appreciate their love for old-school metal based purely on quality craftsmanship, the rest of the metal scene can just flock to the nearest stadium concert event for bands that don’t hack it like their band names suggest they once did. Hype is a gag-order for quality metal in the underground, and Death of Kings’ marketable music doesn’t deserve that. Only few get an opportunity to have longevity in careers that don’t yield huge sums of money, so I’m putting my bet on Death of Kings doing another interesting album based on the music they make on Kneel Before None. If your ears strain for the nth play button click of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, I don’t feel sorry for you one bit. The only thing that means is that you were never really into the best of what the scene had to offer to begin with.