Atlanta’s Death of Kings has had plenty of time to perfect their blend of thrash and heavy metal, as they’ve focused on short form releases like demos and EP’s since forming in 2009. Last month the group released the single ‘Hell Comes to Life’, and now they’re finally set to put out their debut full length ‘Kneel Before None’. Set for release June 2nd via Boris Records, it’s clear that the amount of time Death of Kings has spent honing their craft has been put to good use, as the album is full of blisteringly intense riffs and soaring vocals that blur the lines between abrasive thrash screaming/singing and falsetto heavy metal singing. Today we’re premiering the album opener Shadow of the Reaper so you can hear just why these guys are one of the more promising bands to come out of Atlanta in recent memory.
For any thrash or heavy metal group it’s important to start an album off with a bang to draw listeners in, and that’s exactly what Shadow of the Reaper is able to accomplish. The song kicks off with a brief intro that lets the layers of distorted guitars build before opening up into an all-out attack of fast paced leads and soaring vocals. Early on Death of Kings skews more towards a thrash and crossover thrash sound with a little bit of heavy metal, though you’ll find that some of the heavy metal styles come through more prominently as the album progresses. Some of the transitions between the fast and mid-tempo sections remind me just as much of recent crossover thrash icons like Iron Reagan and Power Trip just as much as they channel the classic Bay Area sound, and that’s damn appealing. The guitar leads come through with a scorching level of intensity, and this is bolstered by strong production values that allow the details of the instrumentals to come through with force and clarity. You can hear the bass lines underneath of the guitars, and that’s something that’s a must when it comes to this genre. Lead singer Matt Matson deserves quite a bit of credit too, as he starts the song off with a soaring falsetto that is reminiscent of some of the better 80s heavy metal vocalists. The vocals move between these soaring ranges and gruffer, more abrasive screams and shouting as the track progresses, and it’s delivered with high energy that never wavers.
There’s always a lot of thrash out there vying for your attention, particularly throughout the U.S. But Death of Kings has taken their time and been able to write high flying songs that have some riffs and solos that stand out once the initial burst of energy wears off. Shadow of the Reaper is just a small taste of the thrash and heavy metal styles these guys encompass, and you’ll hear a lot of different things as more of the album is unveiled. ‘Kneel Before None’ releases June 2nd on Boris Records.