Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Slayerking - Sanatana Dharma (2016)

You might expect some kind of black metal to appear here on this Grecian outfit's debut album, but such is not the case and I'm quite glad for it. Considered “Doom/Gothic Metal” by MA, there's a bit more going on here than you'd expect and my ears were quite happy to hear it. When I say doom/Gothic, you should immediately gravitate towards acts like early Paradise Lost as well as fellow Greeks SepticFlesh and Rotting Christ. That's the kind of doom/Gothic you're getting. The Slayerking delivers the kinds of thunderous riffs that we'd expect for virtually any type of doom metal, so that part of the formula is covered. They also add in some really interesting solo sections that add real heft to the material and make it stand out. Frontman and bassist Efthimis K. sometimes uses a rather grainy clean vocal (that works, by the way) as well as a sadistic scowl approach that works just as well as you might imagine for the material. It's horrific, which really adds even further detail to songs with titles like “Black Mother of The Lord of Light” and “Magnificent Desolation.” Even “Sargon Of Akkad” (not about the YouTube guy) manages to really pound with a venom that reminds me heavily of what Paradise Lost used to do and what they're doing again. Now Efthimis K. doesn't have the same kind of calm clean vocal approach that Nick Holmes does, but he makes up for that with what can often sound like a fist raised to your gullet... and I say, yes. That is exactly what I want to hear in this kind of metal.

Sometimes Kostas K.'s guitar compositions will get a little trippy and psychedelic, which is hardly what we'd ever expect from a band of this nature, as it might let up the breaks a little on the goth and gloom we'd expect. But that being said, The Slayerking are definitely not a trippy sort of prog band. They're still doom, it's still very dark and I'd consider it as mere influence from the progenitors of this kind of music, who were also big into progressive rock. I feel that the trippiness of prog rock had much to do with the dark overtones of doom, which Sanatana Dharma does a great job in showcasing. Now there are a few missteps, like the confusing and a bit repetitive “My Lai” but you've got a great closer in “Southern Gate Of The Sun” which utilizes repetition in a way that you'll actually appreciate. It actually comes off pretty catchy and you'll probably end up singing along by the end of it. At the end of the day, it's pretty obvious that these guys are just getting started here, but considering that there are members of Nightfall here, you should probably take note. The scores over on MA for those later Nightfall discs aren't so good, but I fucking loved them and this new sound is just as memorable to me. It's a pretty solid disc, so give it a listen.

(8 Tracks, 39:00)


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