Los Angeles, California, is not the place I’d have expected to find ‘Deathkings’. A place associated with sunshine, beaches and Hollywood. However, somehow, they drew the inspiration to create one of the most bleak and moody, post-rock laden, experimental, doom metal albums I have heard in quite some time.
As opening track ‘Sol Invictus’ begins to softly arouse my anticipating ears, I am slowly entered into a state of melancholy. Then, suddenly, just as I am feeling quite relaxed, I am hit by the thunderous tones of Daryl Hernandez and Mark Lüntzel’s guitars, quickly followed by the harsh, gruff vocals of Nicolas Rocha who is also responsible for the heavy bass. This type of satisfying crescendo gives a taste of what was to come from the rest of the 4-track album.
The only thing that grounds me from this mesmerizing, down-tempo experience is the tone that has been chosen for Sean Spindler’s snare drum. It unfortunately has quite a piercing effect when listening to the first track, however, once you become accustomed to the sound, it takes nothing away from the sheer brilliance of the music and I even find that it becomes part of the band’s charm as the album progresses.
The outro of ‘Sol Invictus’ sees that post-rock influence shining through, and as it comes to its end, it is perfectly greeted by the soft and beautiful intro of ‘The Storm’ which plays on the emotion that the first track has left lingering. It features some nice use of harsh vocals over clean passages which sets an almost eerie atmosphere, along with a lot more melody than the previous song. Before I know it, I am uplifted by some major chord progressions. With so much room within the songs, due to their colossal length, there is space for the songwriter to manipulate your mood and emotions.
‘The Road to Awe’ is up next and I find that it focuses on creating the eerie atmosphere with the use of slightly discordant progressions and the chant-like vocal passages. For the first time, however, I feel like some parts of the track seem to go on a little longer than I would have liked.
The album as a whole is much less riff-oriented as you might expect from a band of their ilk, but some sections of 4th and final track ‘Dakhma’ have me involuntarily nodding my head. The pace of this song is the most dynamic yet, even introducing blast beats for a short time.
As ‘Dakhma’ delivers its closing passages that slowly draw me out from the trance like state I have experienced whilst listening to the album, my overall impression is an exceedingly good one. Its a similar feeling to coming home from a great holiday and dealing with the return to dismal, every day life (or ‘post-holiday blues’). In a scene dominated by bands that want to play faster, harder and more technically, the simple songwriting of ‘All That Is Beautiful’ has arrangements that focus on an effective emotional atmosphere that takes you on somewhat of a musical journey similar to albums by bands such as Agalloch of Pallbearer. Along the way I had felt anticipation; been moved by the sadness, lifted up by happier sections and experienced an overall sense of melancholy that leaves me eager to, once again, embark on this journey from its beginning.
Review By Lee Facebook