Artist: Kingdom of Giants
Album: Ground Culture
Release Date: 21st October 2014
Label: InVogue Records
Formed in Sacramento, California in 2011, Kingdom of Giants is a six-piece metalcore band from California about to release their second album, Ground Culture, as a follow up to their 2013 debut Every Wave of Sound. Ground Culture will be released via InVogue Records on October 21st 2014.
I’m immediately impressed with the audio quality of this album. It’s full of rich guitar tones and thick drumbeats, with the vocals shining through nicely. The guitars have the right amount of grit for music of this style, but not so much that the listener is unable to appreciate the technicalities.
That being said, this isn’t all going to be positive. Being a big fan of metalcore, this is a band I really wanted to like from the moment I was asked to write this review, but overall, I have to admit that I’m less than impressed. While this band possesses excellent technical abilities and has talented musicians, this album does often feel like it’s one long song. In other words, a lot of the songs sound rather similar. While listening to it the first few times, I had to glance across several times to my music player to see whether or not the song had changed because it sounded so alike at points.
There are some good points about this album, however, such as the title track, Ground Culture, which is a wonderful showcase for the musicians’ individual abilities and this, for me, is the track on the album that stands out the most.
Another moment in particular that I feel deserves a special mention is the groove that the band create on Sky Burial at about the 2:20 mark. The low guitar tuning and slower tempo on the drum kit give it a really dark feel, and it comes across magnificently.
The track Endure is another song that stands out from the rest. The guitar melodies that accompany the verse are too quiet in my opinion, but if you listen to the music as an exclusive activity then they do sound good. My only criticism of this song is that there isn’t too much musical diversity, but in the case of this particular song, they’ve managed to make that work to their advantage.
Clocking in at around 37 minutes, this album isn’t too hard to digest, but something that younger bands are often criticised about, and I have to say that I agree with them in this case, is that these younger bands tend to sacrifice musical clarity and quality for perceived heaviness and chunkiness by adding breakdown after breakdown. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good breakdown as much as the next metal/hardcore fan, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much, as I feel is the case with this album.
A lot of the verses feel like they’re trying too much to be breakdowns. While bands like August Burns Red are able to successfully incorporate numerous breakdowns into their songs, they counterbalance it with the huge guitar melodies that accompany most of the verses (listen to their song Meddler for what I consider to be their best example of this).
Overall, this is a decent album, especially for a band that is still quite raw, but this album definitely leaves them a lot of room to grow and expand musically. In my opinion, things can only go upwards for this young band and they have shown a lot of potential to progress and left us with some darn heavy-hitting tracks to devour in the meantime.
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