The-Slayerking-Sanatana-Dharma‘Sanatana Dharma’ is the debut album from Greek band The Slayerking, a side-project fronted by Nighfall’s Efthimis Karadimas, and featuring Kostas Kyriakopoulos on guitar and Anna Eleftherou on drums.

The first thing you may notice is the CD’s cover, bearing a slight resemblance to Paradise Lost’s 2012 album ‘Tragic Idol’, and just like PL, The Slayerking plough a similar furrow in gothic doom and grandiose dark rock.

Now, a few reviewers have already noted that Efthimis K’s vocal pronunciations hamper the albums delivery somewhat, and while the vocal style may take a little getting used to on a few tracks, fuck it…I like it!

…Do ya know what, occasionally Tom G. Warrior sounds like Elma Fudd, but no one’s looking to slag off Celtic Frost or Triptykon anytime soon.

Sure, ‘Sanatana Dharma’s crisp and simple production may highlight some of it’s musical fragility, but there is quite a bit here to appreciate. When  Efthimis K gets his growl on, some of the shortcomings can be forgiven.

From the slow-burn and spacey effects of the opening track ‘She Is My Lazarus’, sultry and tangy basslines, well-punctuated guitar and inspired leads, plus uncomplicated and tight drumming are the order of the day. The Nick Holmes-esque chorus of ‘Saragon Of Akkad’, and the eastern flavours of ‘Magnificent Desolation’ are simple, yet impressive, and it’s only really on ‘We Are The End’ that the case against the vocal delivery may have a point.

This song doesn’t particularly work, but things get back on track with the mysterious ‘My Lai’, and possibly the stand-out cut ‘The Man That Never Was’. Here, the tribal drum pattern, the extended guitar chugging, and the solem backing vocals prove most effective. This leaves ‘Southern Gate Of The Sun’ to end the disc in a more understated fashion.

Wonderfully packaged with gorgeous artwork, The Slayerking’s first album comes in at an enjoyable and listener-friendly 39 minutes. While it cannot be considered a totally successful performance, it’s certainly no Greek tragedy.

(7/10 Stuart Carroll)