Kingdom Of Sorrow - Kingdom Of Sorrow
Relapse Records
Sludge Metal, Hardcore
11 songs (38:35)
Release year: 2008
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat

When word of this project first leaked out to the Internet gossipmongers, I must admit, I was anything but excited. My great love for Crowbar, the New Orleans Sludge veterans that many credit with having invented the genre, is matched only by my equal and opposite hatred for Hatebreed, the perfect example of why modern Hardcore needs to be taken by the hand to the back of the building and shot several times in the head. So I couldn’t see that anything truly revolutionary could come from collaboration between the two – Crowbar with worse riffs and vocals was my guess.

Guess what? Listening to the debut release (yes, apparently there will be more) from Kirk Windstein and Jamey Jasta’s new band, it would appear that I was exactly right. Take a dollop of Crowbar’s sludge, remove most of the good riffs and add a dreadful Hardcore ‘singer’, and what you get is Kingdom Of Sorrow, an extremely dull, typical, almost clichéd name for an extremely dull, typical, and almost clichéd band. Why they didn’t name it ‘Hatebar’ or ‘Crowbreed’ is beyond me; compare the suggested violence of the former or mystery of the latter with ‘Kingdom of Sorrow’, which sounds like a very poor Power Metal concept album.

Time for the cynical hat: what better way to introduce the new wave of American Metal fans to Crowbar’s earth-shaking back catalogue and new album later this year than by associating with the inexplicably popular Jasta and his (dreadful) band? Yes, he works very hard, and yes, he’s been on a Napalm Death album, but really, having him shout over some hastily thrown-together Crowbar riffing is hardly what you’d call a step forward musically. What makes it all the more heartbreaking is that Windstein’s occasional vocals are ten times better than Jasta could ever hope to be, and those moments elevate the music immensely. His gravelly howl always manages to convey the pain and hardship of the lyrics, which is far beyond Jasta’s capabilities.

Apart from the odd moment like the intro to Hear This Prayer For Her, which sets hopes tingling before crashing them back down when Jasta starts his moronic bellow, and With Unspoken Words which is mostly sung by Windstein and is practically a Crowbar song, the album is very samey and pretty much forgettable. The likes of Led Into Demise are more ‘breed than ‘bar, and the fact that the majority of the songs are three-to-four minutes long doesn’t help at all.

The playing is great, especially Derek Kerswill’s drumming and Kirk Windstein’s riffing is as deep and crushing as ever. It’s just a pity about the choice of vocalist – imagine how good Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway could have been, for instance… If you’re new to the whole Sludge experience, then listen to Crowbar’s last couple of albums, as Kingdom Of Sorrow has nothing new to offer.

Killing Songs :
With Unspoken Words
Goat quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Kingdom Of Sorrow that we have reviewed:
Kingdom Of Sorrow - Behind the Blackest Tears reviewed by Tyler and quoted 70 / 100
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