If there’s one thing the Eighties Thrash scene taught us, it’s that if mankind were to ever be wiped out by a nuclear holocaust, then at least there would be a kick-ass soundtrack to help melt us into sticky, green radioactive goo. You simply couldn’t get out of bed during that decade for tripping over another relentlessly aggressive four-minute paranoia-filled song about nuclear explosions, toxic fallout, global chaos, and the total and utter destruction of the planet. God, the ’80s were fantastic! Continue reading
This vinyl reissue of the debut album from LA quartet Deathkings, originally released in 2011 and now remastered to split the original three tracks into four, wraps a doom / sludge centre inside a lazy stoner vibe, for the most part decorated in a bellowing roar reminiscent of Kurt Windstein or Matt Pike. The slow, pulsating start to Destroyer(Midnite Collective) verges on melancholic until a deep, buzzing riff meets drums burying themselves into the mind, with the accompanying lead possessing a mournful feel. The quieter bridges of opener ‘Halo of the Sun’ have an introspective air occasionally touching on drone, with clean vocals evoking Eddie Vedder’s more subtle moments. These mantras give added depth and meaning to a brutally heavy yet hypnotic track, an aching sadness blending with resigned pleas for sense and sanity.
There are no prolonged repetitive passages here, but that gives the album magnetism. A metronomic pulse opens ‘Martyrs Vol. I’ leads to a slowly pounding, grinding anger; a passionate vocal performance dragging along a protesting rhythm section which, despite being dynamic, is delightfully laconic on occasion. The rumbling bass of ‘Martyrs Vol. II’ gives a sedentary yet constant movement to a tragic tale, told with such feeling that it’s impossible not to empathise with the victims. The strange organic structure shows adventure and points to a progressive sensibility, but there are no ineffective noodlings or indulgent drifting, every ingredient is crucial to the story.
The tortured roars and chants of the closing title track are carried by a latent beat and gently throbbing riff which, during moments of swelling crescendo, burst with a paradoxical euphoria whilst being accompanied by brief spiralling leads. A chant of the Bhagavad Gita quote made infamous by Oppenheimer ushers in a delicate, mournful passage where the band’s purpose – despair of destruction – becomes clear, it’s a message constantly emphasised through fluctuating elements of power and lamentation to the close.
Despite appearing a little aimless and dull on first listen, repeated plays open up the emotion, intricacy and creative glory of a quite spellbinding set.