Nailed to Obscurity – King Delusion (Released February 3, 2017 – Apostasy Records)
Doom metal has never been my thing, equally, neither has melodic doom. But, I have a sweet tooth (sweet ear..?) for anything with a melodic bend, therefore, King Delusion was a tumultuous listen. My indifference for doom pushes me to tear the album apart and hold up its severed head as a testament to my boredom… yet my melodic side left me swaying in time with each track even as I found them tedious.
The slow leads and gruff growls of King Delusion took hold early as the titular and opening track carried them in spades. King Delusion featured a deadening bass line and gothic, nearly clean, vocals, such as Nick Holmes’ iconic sound. Unlike the lumbering riffs of the titular track or instrumental, Apnoea, Protean ups the speed of the record and reaches nearly Be’lakor levels though Nailed to Obscurity are the farthest thing from Be’lacore (see Countless Skies). The knifing leads of Protean spice things up while slow solos, such as those on Devoid, cause a moment for pause. The middle of the album is saturated in tedious pacing but drips with melodicism. Deadening, Memento, and the 12-minute behemoth, Uncage My Sanity, all roll and wash with acoustic guitars, whispers, and clean sustained leads. Influences from Swallow the Sun are readily apparent throughout the middle of the record, from the building quiet on Memento to the acoustic breaks and vocal harmonizing on Uncage My Sanity. Apart from the more nuanced influences, the most noticeable influence is the atmosphere surrounding the entire album. Just as with the Finnish melodic doomsters, the listener is transported to an empty forest glen to stare up at the stars and contemplate life as large rolling riffs and tumbling drums drown out the sounds of a forest at night. Slap Swallow the Sun’s logo on King Delusion and you would never know the difference between the two bands.
King Delusion is not an album I hate, it is simply unremarkable, there is a definite lack of energy, though the album is unequivocally catchy. With the slow pace, there is a lot of open space throughout the album which allows the clean guitar tone to be the hero. Doom metal has struck a popular renaissance in recent years with Khemmis, Pallbearer, and Bell Witch driving the genre to new heights. If you jumped on that train King Delusion will be your sweet elixir, if not, it makes for good background music.