As Extreme Metal enters its middle-age as gracefully as you’d expect, an odd phenomenon can be observed. Bands and musicians who had previously “grown up” and abandoned extreme or brutal musical elements now grow up even further and discover that, actually, they rather miss blast-beats and growled vocals after all. My Dying Bride predated the trend by at least a decade with 1999’s The Light At The End World (Peaceville) but have since been joined by Paradise Lost, Bloodbath and Vallenfyre amongst others. England’s The King Is Blind, fresh from a successful slot at this year’s Bloodstock, are the latest addition to the ranks of Mid-Life Crisis Metal (featuring ex members of Entwined, The Blood Divine and Cradle Of Filth). They are also one of the most savage.
TKIB play chunky, aggressive Death Metal that wears its Celtic Frost and early-90’s-Peaceville influences openly, but isn’t afraid to shake them around a little bit either. The core of their sound is thick, crusty riffing that calls to mind Bolt Thrower as often as it does Frost or early My Dying Bride, backed by the insistent pummelling beats you’d expect from the drummer of Extreme Noise Terror.
Commanding, powerful barked vocals and the occasional melodic lead fill out the sound effectively, and the pace alternates from slow Doom drudge to hungry Entombed-style lurching to tight, controlled blasting. Song-writing is taut and confident, if (understandably, at this point) lacking in variety, and each track expands on TKIB’s manifesto of powerful, aggressive Death Metal that embraces its heritage without wallowing in empty nostalgia.
At only four tracks and around twenty minutes, The Deficiencies Of Man (Mordgrimm) never has time to get boring, but also doesn’t have the chance to show us how much depth TKIB are capable of – keeping their material both interesting and savage over the course of a full album will be the next big challenge for them. Until then, this is a short but potent demonstration of a band who realise that truly “growing up” means not having to pretend that you prefer Morrissey to Morbid Angel.