Pennsylvania mostly-instrumentalists, KING DEAD, recently undraped a brand new self-released three-song full-length. Having impressed with the spacious post-metal textures of their first demo last year, the scope of latest release, Woe & Judgement, has expanded considerably even from where it started. With three tracks constructed to fit on two sides, KING DEAD – four-string bassist Kevin Vanderhoof, six-string bassist Wil McGrath and no-strings drummer Steve Truglio – pushes its way into an encompassing rumble that still seems to hold onto a human core even as it lumbers between airy doom and rawer, thoroughly-reverbed noise.
In celebration of its release, The Obelisk is currently streaming opening psalm, “The Firmament Of Heaven Opened, And The Flood Waters Were Upon Them” at THIS LOCATION.
“We’ve been opening our set with this lately,” said Truglio of the track, “and it’s funny that people seem to think it’s our soundcheck for the first couple minutes. Yeah, shit’s gettin’ pretty weird.”
“Shit’s gettin’ pretty weird,” is a fitting summary of what’s happening on “The Firmament Of Heaven Opened, And The Flood Waters Were Upon Them,” but hardly the whole story. True enough, the first couple minutes are dedicated to establishing a kind of foundational churn, the ambient experimental core on which the song’s rollout will take place. Gradually, McGrath, Vanderhoof and Truglio establish a slow roll and embark on a linear build that works in stages across the remainder of the song’s eight-plus minutes. The cut with which it shares the intended side A of Woe & Judgment, “A Monument To Decline,” is led into by a finale of feedback that gives way to a more immediate stomp, the drums thudding and the strings jangling in echoes like sliding footsteps as the initial stage of the track gets underway. A midsection break veers into softer but still hypnotic spaces, but they finish with more rhythmically intense crunch, vaguely attributable to a Neurosis influence, but given its own context through KING DEAD‘s by-then well-established mood.
As for side B, it’s pretty much a universe of its own with the twenty-minute “The Coward, The Thieving Liar” consuming its entirety, but sure enough the song does break down into somewhat more manageable pieces around halfway through, shifting between sample-laden ’90s-style atmospheric sludge, abrasive noise, Floydian psychedelics and a final build – complete with what seems to be some vocals – that gives way to feedback and amp buzz to finish out. All told, it’s an immersive thirty-seven-minute stretch, but lack of pretense prevails, and KING DEAD‘s debut long-player finds them aesthetically locked in and proffering a balance between the raw and the lush, with a patience underlying that only makes the songs seem more methodical. [words by JJ Koczan/the Obelisk]
Woe & Judgement Track Listing:
- The Firmament Of Heaven Opened, And The Flood Waters Were Upon Them
- A Monument to Decline
- The Coward, The Thieving Liar
KING DEAD have been conspicuously haunting the Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania area. Bass players Wil McGrath and Kevin Vanderhoof, recruited New Jersey transplant Steve Truglio on drums in 2013, and have been traumatizing ears throughout PA ever since. Their debut record Woe & Judgement was recorded by Dave Reiser in Stroudsburg at Rock Hard Studios. Call it sludge, doom, spaghetti western doom sludge… With virtually no vocals, it’s all about dynamics and the building tempos. Creepy, dreary, sleepy and melodic riffs layered over deep bottom and pounding drums.
The band will bring their smoky odes to area stages beginning this Wednesday at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn with Kind, Godmaker and Somnuri with additional onstage rituals to be announced in the New Year.
KING DEAD Winter Blitz:
12/16/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Kind, Godmaker, Somnuri [info]
12/19/2015 Irish Wolf Pub – Scranton, PA
12/25/2015 The Living Room – Stroudsburg, PA
1/15/2016 Alternative Gallery – Allentown, PA
1/16/2016 Meatlocker – Montclair, NJ
1/23/2016 Taproom – St. Clair, PA
2/06/2016 Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
Woe & Judgement is available digitally via the band’s official BandCamp page at THIS LOCATION.