DESERT KINGDOM are venturing out for their self-titled debut album. The doom/stoner outfit hope to bring a new twist on the sub-genre’s traditions, while keeping to their roots. In such a saturated sub-genre, especially today as both doom and stoner metal has seen an uproar of bands of late, how do DESERTED KINGDOM fare up in standing out from the rest?
Wasting no time to kick into heaviness, You’ll Burn is an excellent start to the record. Chunky, muted riffs accompany vocalist Ritch’s rough vocals, demonstrating great cleans and deeper growls. Alternating between more restricted bridges and more content-filled sections, the song really breaks through in the chorus. Guitarist Emmett cracks on with groovy riffs laden with a heavy rock flavour, which is something nobody can turn down easily.
Opting for a slower, more malevolent start, Mafiaso Opera takes a completely different turn from You’ll Burn, focusing on a short, sharp riff line that really stick with you. Paul delivers excellently on drums on this track, especially with Ritch screaming alongside. The slightly different style from You’ll Burn shows some nice diversity from the band, showing they don’t just deliver all-out carnage, they’re also capable of creating a menacingly, hard hitting track with a slow and steady pace.
If there was ever a song to get you pumped for something, be it a gig, a jog, or anything in between, Doghouse Blues is that track. Cracking off with the same taste of heavy, no-nonsense riffs as other tracks on the album, but accompanied by an equally in-your-face drum pattern from Paul and a damning bassline from Brett, the track really comes together and seems to show us that DESERT KINGDOM don’t fall into the same category as other bands in the same sub-genre. They may have their doom and stoner roots, but their hard rock twangs and other influences make them stand out that little bit in this track, making it a special listen.
The album does, unfortunately, seem to carry the same style throughout the album without a whole lot of deviation or variety, making it slightly monotonous (except for the slightly slower tracks, which are refreshing). 7 Years is an example of this; while it is a good song, it sounds too similar to the other tracks on the record.
Fuck You absolutely saves the record, displaying what DESERT KINGDOM are all about. Aggressive, in-your-face riffs that are simultaneously gritty and refined, with Ritch’s vocals really shining through, especially on the chorus. Rife with energy, Fuck You is the highlight of the album, and here you see an example of the band demonstrating their true ability to create astounding tracks. It’s somewhat of a shame the album doesn’t follow suit, but moments like this and Doghouse Blues make it forgivable, and ensure the album is enjoyable.
DESERT KINGDOM’s debut is by no means a bad record, nor is it incredible. While the record has its highlights (Doghouse Blues alone makes the album a cracker), and they do have an original sound in places, it doesn’t step too far out of the comfort zone of the genre, making it an occasionally bland listen. It’s definitely an album worthy of a listen and a purchase, especially for those unfamiliar with either doom or stoner who would like an easier transition into the two genres.
Desert Kingdom is out now via Black Bow Records.
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