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King Dude – Death


Last Updated on 09:31 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Neofolk/Goth
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Van Records
Year: 2022

“Death” is the swansong for rebellious neo-folk heroe King Dude. His last studio full length was out earlier this autumn in September and yes it is glorious yes it is the proper way to say goodbye to his faithful fans. Truth be told this seemed like a redemption procedure and the recordings sessions of the album like a redemption ritual for King Dude. The persona of King Dude had to die so that TJ Cowgill, the man behind King Dude, could continue to live, and restart his life or even evolve as while (the persona) King Dude might be a side of TJ Cowgill, but TJ Cowgill is not King Dude. What began in 2010 as a bedroom project while Cowgill was still playing in the black metal band Book of Black Earth, soon became his main priority making Cowgill take some distance from his beloved black metal. King Dude started as a dark folk project that grew to a neo-folk, early country, blues, americana, rock ‘n roll, death and gothic rock, (sometimes) surf mixed with rhythm and blues amalgam that handled issues like inner self themes, fear, Lucifer, love, occult, sex, magick and death. All dressed under the bitter sweet sounds and the black veil of his esoteric quest voices. Ten albums later and a dozen of years after King Dude has finished his work in Earth as he preached about all that matters to his world; Love, Fear, Sex and Death.

“I’ve always planned on ending King Dude with “Death”. I started out writing and recording these songs in my bedroom with no intention of anyone other than my roommates hearing them. I certainly didn’t plan on releasing ten albums. Shortly after my first the success of my two EPs I knew that King Dude had the potential to become a problem for me. I worried the meager success I was experiencing could end up luring me into the trap of making King Dude records for the rest of my life. So in order to avoid that fate I planned out the rest of every King Dude album from that point on, ultimately deciding that four of the records should work as companion’s pieces to one another. Those four albums are Love, Fear, Sex and now finally Death. So as you can clearly see I’ve already made up my mind in this matter. Ten years ago. And there’s nothing I can do to change it without lying to myself about what my life is. Death fulfills the pact I made with my former self and sets me free from acts of repetition and stagnation. It’s a necessary, beautiful thing.”

This final attempt now follows a slight different approaching (musically speaking as lyrically the same motif full of repetitive verses and catchy choruses continues) as it leaves a small window open for a light to King Dude’s darkness. Same for the psychedelic colours in the white artwork cover. Less acoustic guitars and some brave doses of goth synthwave and post punk swarms the sound of “Death” bringing in mind legends of goth such as Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, Bowie and Bauhaus.

Songs like: “O’ Darkness”, “Everybody Goes to Heaven”, “Cast no Reflection”, the two duet songs “Sweet Death” (featuring Shannon F.) and “Black and Blue” (featuring Nicole Estil) and “Pray for Nuclear War” are highlights that gives extra shine to King Dude and his legacy. Brilliant and melancholic end with “Lay Waste of the Human Race” and the grande piano finale that close “Death” and King Dude’s discography…

Lilliana Tseka
Lilliana Tseka
Surrealism : Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life.

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