East Anglian groove metal five piece The King is Blind have seen fit to drop their debut album Our Father and it’s probably one of the most diverse metal debuts I’ve heard in some time. Taking groove metal to its extremes, The King is Blind mix in elements of doom and black metal to create an album that’s bursting with ideas.
What’s instantly striking about The King is Blind is their unrelenting guitar work which is consistently exciting and unpredictable. Guitarists Lee Appleton and Paul Ryan-Reader are always prominent in the mix and often deal in a groovy, thrashy playing style that will remind you of bands like Sepultura and DevilDriver. This means Our Father is often punishing yet strangely catchy as the two guitarists manage to conjure up riffs like it’s no problem.
When The King is Blind are going hell for leather, they are one of the most exciting bands in underground metal. Tracks like Bloodlet Ascension, Amen and All the Daemons Are Here are savage, relentless metal songs that are loaded with piss and vinegar. These songs often deal in black metal-style tremolo picking which also adds to the sheer intensity of this aural assault. Enough can’t be said about how visceral and exciting The King is Blind are when they decide to be the heaviest band in the UK.
Where Our Father unfortunately falls down is in its experimentation with doom metal. The one-two punch of opening tracks Genesis Refracted and Fragility Becomes Wrath is unfortunately stopped short by the lurching doom track Mors Somnis. While not necessarily a bad song, slowing the pace this early into the record is strangely jarring. When doom tracks keep showing themselves throughout the record you often wonder whether The King is Blind are dealing with too many metal styles as their sound becomes inconsistent.
Sometimes the addition of doom actually works quite well and it’s during tracks that meld it with the band’s groove metal sound. Venin and Devoured in particular like to change between doom and the faster, thrashier style and it works infinitely better as the impact of the band’s break-neck speed is more striking when it follows a big, foreboding, doom groove.
The King is Blind have made a great debut album with Our Father and it’s clear that a lot of diverse metal bands influence their sound. Unfortunately for the band it means that they have a hard time finding a sound that’s truly theirs and this creates some inconsistency. Regardless, this is a strong start to the band’s career and I’m confident they’ll only get better from here.
The King is Blind’s Our Father is out now through Cacophonous Records.