A bit of a quicky for y’all with this one, a three track EP from Kentucky’s Rotting Kingdom. Actually, I say “quicky”, but with the shortest of these tracks being six minutes long, and the other two weighing in at eight and nine minutes-ish respectively, it isn’t actually all that quick. In fact, given that Rotting Kingdom is a doom/death outfit, you might think that there’s nothing all that quick about them at all!
Well, you’d soon be thinking that you were wrong if that was your perception. Within the first couple of minutes of opener “Adrift in a Sea of Souls”, the tempo moves on from the standard very plodding fare into what could only really be described as more of a brisk trot. The drums get a very decent workout, with skinsman Brandy Glancy providing a thorough beat down. There’s plenty of atmosphere – this is doom/death after all – but there’s also some really neat effects, such as the echoey moments of reverb-filled guitars during the dying minutes of the track. Elsewhere, this track brings to mind some of the doom/rock crossover of latter day Woods of Ypres, and while the old-school death metal roars of Anton Escabar aren’t going to win over the lace-hanky brigade, they fit perfectly for the aggression here.
“Castle of Decay”, as the shortest track, is quite a punchy number, which is absolutely driven by a hypnotically simple main drum beat and bass chops courtesy of Chuck McIntyre. It’s the track which most clearly signals that key members of the outfit have previous experience in “proper” death metal bands, with an aggressive vibe. “Demons in Stained Glass” is the EP closer, and a bit of a corker. WIth a haunting guitar melody and chugging main riff provided by six-stringers Kyle Keener and Clay Rice”, it brings to mind the glory days of the early 90’s doom/death explosion, managing somehow to channel equal parts early My Dying Bride, as well as oddities like Dominion, Entwined or The Blood Divine. It’s quite a bit more in-your-face, with a slightly murky but passable production that doesn’t detract from the violent approach too much. The chanted vocals towards the end bring to mind the epic appeal of Winterfylleth, which is a neat touch.
All in all, this is a good package, particularly as you can pick it up for about £4 from Bandcamp. I think they’re individual enough to stand out among the seas of doom/death clones out there to be able to carve out a really good following for themselves. At £4, it seems a bit of steal to get in at the ground level?
(8/10 Chris Davison)