Australian band KING are all set to make a massive name for themselves, with the release of their debut album ‘Reclaim The Darkness’ through Indie Recordings. A huge, riffed-up celebration of the universe and the wonders around us, that’s as harsh and heavy as it is melodic. Ave Noctum caught up with guitarist David Hill to offer some insights into KING’s majesty.
AN: Your name may not be familiar to Ave Noctum readers, could you give us a few insights into how the band formed?
DH: KING began 4-5 years ago as an idea Tony (vocals) and I (guitar) had been speaking about for some time. We began writing material with the aim for it to be black metal but without setting ourselves strict rules or guidelines. Tony had previously been the vocalist in Blood Duster and both Tony and I had been involved in the goregrind band “The Day Everything Became Nothing”. Dave Haley currently plays drums in Psycroptic and Ruins and has been involved in past projects The Amenta and Pestilence. The music came naturally for us, as it evolved and KING’s sound started to be developed, a more melodic influences became evident, which for us created the perfect sound. Two years ago Dave Haley joined on drums and we become 100% focused, working on arrangements and completing an album. Dave’s drums really added the final touch KING’s sound, enhancing what we already had, beyond what we could have hoped.
AN: Australia isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to black metal, where have your influences and inspiration come from?
DH: Our musical influences have come from bands in the genre that we love and have been fans of for years, from black metal and other genres. A big influence for me personally was traveling to Europe a few years ago and in particular traveling in Norway. The amazing and inspiring landscape had a big impact on me, helping to focus and understand the atmosphere I wanted to create within KING’s music.
AN: What is the current state of the Australian metal scene like?
DH: Really healthy at the moment! There are a lot of bands, good bands, playing shows all the time around Australia and touring internationally as well. All major cities have established live music venues that support local music, and a lot that are dedicated to supporting metal.
AN: Could you explain some of the themes and ideas behind your debut album ‘Reclaim The Darkness’?
DH: We aimed to create an album in which the themes in the music, lyrics and artwork inspired an atmosphere of an ancient land with a long history, old tales from a timeless land, battles won and lost. In his lyrics, Tony uses this as a backdrop to discuss thoughts on our concept of mortality, contemplating our existence and our place in the universe. We really wanted to capture the imagination of the listener and draw them into our world, take them on a journey.
AN: Although you perform “extreme” music, it is still melodic and accessible, was this always a goal?
DH: No it wasn’t a goal we set out to achieve, not consciously. It evolved like that during the writing process, as we drew from many musical influences not limiting ourselves by setting rules of what should or should be in black metal. We are fans of some more “accessible” metal, so I think that naturally had an influence in the song writing.
AN: I love the big, solid riffs on the album, clearly swing and groove come naturally to you guys…
DH: For me, I do like catchy riffs and rocking stuff, although in my opinion you need a good balance between that and the darker, harsher components. The individual parts and riffs come fairly naturally, the main challenge for me during the song writing process is finding the ideal arrangement to complement, enhance and match the riffs perfectly.
AN: I noticed some folk and Celtic influence too…
DH: Yes for sure, to include those influences felt right and really complemented the harsher more strict riffs. I am a big fan of bands like Moonsorrow and Wardruna. I feel the folk influenced components help create a real sense of wonder and an ancient story telling atmosphere. It immediately invokes a sense of history, old tales passed down through generations and rich culture, setting the mood on the album.
AN: What has the reaction been like, so far, to the album?
DH: So far it has been really good, the reviews have started to come in and they are positive, it seems people are taking from the album what we had hoped. As this is our debut album only a few people had really heard KING up until its release, so it’s been great to finally hear people’s thoughts on our music.
AN: How have the live shows with Inquisition been going?
DH: We’ve had a really positive response at the live shows, and I feel the crowd enjoyed KING’s performance. They were our first live shows, so that was very exciting and also satisfying to perform the songs live as a full band. Inquisition are an amazing band to watch live if you get the chance.
AN: …You must be looking forward to supporting Enslaved in October…
DH: Oh definitely, very much!! This will be our first show in our home city, Melbourne so it’s extra exciting.
AN: Any further headline shows on the way?
DH: We have a headlining show in Melbourne early December and are finalizing plans for a string of headlining shows in Australia in January.
AN: Will you be making it to Europe anytime soon?
DH: We are working on plans, aiming for March/April 2017… hopefully we can officially announce something soon. We are extremely keen to get to Europe to tour and support the album release
AN: Lastly, is nature still truly “King”?
DH: Most definitely!
(Interview Stuart Carroll)