Kings Destroy – Fantasma Nera

Pure, bluesy Rock music has undergone somewhat of a revival of fortune in recent years. Not only have the old guard of legends remained strong and as popular as ever, but a slew of younger talent has held the flag of that sound flying high through an earnest passion and solid songwriting. In amongst this ever-widening crowd, Boston act Kings Destroy can easily find themselves a part of that bracket on latest effort Fantasma Nera (Svart Records) and yet simultaneously offer something vastly different.

The first thing that strikes you about Fantasma Nera, and the prime reason why it initially fits into that Hard Rock category is its predominant upbeat tempo, particularly through the early stages of the album and its mid-paced, entries. The likes of album opener ‘The Nightbird’ feel like suited fodder for sun-soaked evenings with an almost misleading positive vibe on the offset.

But Fantasma Nera is a much more layered and depth-filled effort than initial listens may reveal. There is enough going on that this achieves that rare feat of crossing boundaries between pure Rock and Sludge, with even some more Metal and psychedelic aspects. Coming from Hardcore roots, the band aren’t afraid to showcase some sense of rawness and aggression in their sound, even if it is to a somewhat subtle degree; whilst the balance between trippy, fuzzy riffs and catchiness on the likes of ‘Dead Before’ and ‘Yonkers Ceiling Collapse’ bring the likes Earthless on their recent, streamlined output to mind.

Even in lyrical content, Kings Destroy mostly avoids the clichés and tropes of plenty of Hard Rock and ventures into more reflective and through provoking territory, amplifying that sense of depth the album possesses.

Nine years in and after a couple of solid, well-received releases, Kings Destroy have taken to challenging themselves further than before, and the result is a surprise, cross-appealing release which should appeal to fans of both Classic Rock and more Stoner Rock/Metal; by delivering in all aspects without feeling watered down. For the immediacy in much of the album’s content, there is plentiful detail and nuance beyond its surface; whilst still feeling effortlessly cool.

This is a hard act to pigeonhole, which often leads the warmest experiences, and this is one that many people should see the appeal in.

7 / 10

CHRIS TIPPELL