Genre: Doom/Heavy Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
I was following this project closely since its inception and somehow I had already formed an almost clear picture of what The Doomsday Kingdom is about (check my review of “The Never Machine” EP). So, when I got the album at my hands for review, I knew what to expect from their debut full length album.
Our distinguished Chief Editor along with the promo disc gave me also the following hint: “It reminds a lot of Mercyful Fate”. Immediately, my self-defense was triggered: “Oh crap, could this be a clone debut? At least there are 2 tracks in the EP that didn’t make it to the album, so there might be some room for a pleasant surprise. Nah, I should have faith in the talent of Leif and in Stålvind’s voice” … Pause … ” Stop the murmur Papadakis, press the fuckin’ play button and listen”. I clean my mind and I decide to trust once more my beloved companion in the last decades: my ear.
“Silent Kingdom” starts and a titanic riff grabs me by my throat while Stålvind screams “Where is the sun? Where is the light in your eyes?”. My monologue kicks in again “If the rest of the album continues on that mode, it’s heaven on earth!”. Yes, it’s been a long time since I last stacked with a song at that level. Massive repeats followed before I even thought of proceeding to the next song. Things are serious here, gentlemen. The band shows its teeth and it does it in the simplest way. With fuckin’ good songs.
My Chief Editor was right. The album drinks blood in the name of Mercyful Fate, but with a notable difference. There is no deliberate attempt to copy. Here we have musicians playing as if there is no tomorrow and carry this dark, foggy and above all malicious vibe that the Danes have taught us so well, but by following their own approach. That is, original ideas, a wealth of influences and above all pure talent.
I cannot recall when I last listened to such a dark metal masterpiece. Yes, I am talking about dark metal with honorable intentions that achieves its purpose, that is to activate certain mental strings. It’s like the band whispers in your ear “We know exactly what you’re looking for from our debut and that’s what we deliver. Here you are, take it”. Doom Metal activates intense emotions. “It’s like a warning,” once wrote – among other things – an old friend of mine. The music in this album is – largely but not entirely – based on Doom Metal and it does exactly this: activates strong emotions. One Color Black.
Doom is not the only genre present in this album. Several Proto Metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. references can be heard and of course the heavy in volume and long poisonous metal riffs of Mercyful Fate. One can also find some interesting acoustic passages either as bridges magnificently crafted within songs, or as full compositions. The hypnotic and sweet macabre style of “See You Tomorrow” reminded me Hammers Of Misfortune, while “The God Particle” brought me back memories of the haunting Abstract Algebra approach and of the late 90’s obscure sound of Candlemass. Tip: When you hear the verses of the latter song listen also to the relevant verses of “Eyes of the Hydra” from the first album of the German band Wheel to see how the great minds meet at different times periods under the dark prism of Doom Metal.
Without Niklas Stålvind (Wolf) performance this album would be much less valued. I am neither going to use cliché expressions to describe his voice (e.g., “theatric”, “operatic” etc.), nor argue that he tries desperately to mimic King Diamond. I leave such behaviors to those who try to copy King to the last make-up detail. What I see here is an absolute match of the singer with the material that leads to a totally natural and from the heart interpretation of the songs. Yes, there may be a common Merciful Fate denominator, but Stålvind is using the features of his own unique voice and his own interpretative methods. Listen to “The Spoonful Of Darkness” – one of the best moments of the album – and you will understand what I am trying to say here.
“The Doomsday Kingdom” is a huge album. It contains generous portions of the talent of Leif Edling performed by an all-star band (see who Leif has chosen to surround him this time), and above all it contains what’s missing from most of today’s albums of whatever style: Good songs. Good songs played with honest intentions by people who simply feel that they should give back to the listers the best moments they have collected from all these years of experience.
4.5 / 6