The Wounded Kings - The Shadow Over Atlantis
I Hate Records
Atmospheric Doom Metal
6 songs (41:35)
Release year: 2010
Myspace, I Hate Records
Reviewed by Kyle
Surprise of the month

When I first set out to explore a musical genre or subgenre that’s foreign to me, I tend to be a bit cautious in the beginning. Every genre is a big, vast universe that you’ll never truly unearth every secret from, and the subgenres that branch off from it – the “Galaxies”, if you will – while easier to navigate, can still be intimidating to a newcomer. And as a new doom metal fan that’s slowly but surely gaining a foothold on the scene, I’m still having troubles accepting certain bands into my playlist; traditional epic and melodic doom metal bands are my favorite type, but funeral doom is another beast altogether, and though I’m just learning to understand it, it still feels a bit foreboding and uninviting. That’s where The Wounded Kings comes in: Though they’re not really a funeral doom group, their slow, atmospheric brand of traditional doom on The Shadow Over Atlantis, their sophomore effort, could easily provide a stepping stone into the funeral realm. And unlike most “Transition” bands, The Wounded Kings is much more than just throwaway.

The first thing that will come to your attention, obviously, is the album cover: the artwork is beautiful, with a sort-of modern retro style that I really dig, but the image is a bit unsettling all the same. Something similar could be said for the music, once you get into it; the production is very warm, with super fuzzy guitar tones and classic sounding drums that give off a neat stoner doom vibe, but at the same time everything has an odd echo to it that gives me an impression of being stranded in a murky cavern deep below ground, where several undiscovered and un-thought of creatures could easily lurk where sunlight doesn’t reach. And the vocals… I’m almost certain that George Birch is the new decade’s solution for fans of Messiah Marcolin that wish he still remained an active force in doom metal. Birch’s vibrato and tone are VERY similar to Messiah’s, and though he doesn’t sing with the same level of intensity or with a glass-shattering falsetto, his more subtle style makes him a perfect fit for an atmospheric doom band such as this.

One thing that makes The Wounded Kings unique is the use of an organ. It’s not used very often, and when it is used, it’s rather subtle; the Kings certainly aren’t using it as a gimmick, but rather to enhance the atmospheric in minor ways. There are several trivial components within the music, such as echoing, windy background noise, or soft, artificial choirs, which are very nice on their own – but when they’re combined together at rare moments on The Shadow Over Atlantis, true atmospheric magic is formed. The most ominous moments come in the two in-between interludes, Into the Ocean’s Abyss and Deathless Echo, that offer haunting rests from the wall of guitar fuzz that are much more than just filler. The lyrical content only adds to the feeling of loneliness and dread; Tales of dark worlds, impending death, and the sunken ruins of Atlantis come forth in the form of Birch’s voice, and they will chill you to the bone with every syllable.

The Wounded Kings, as fresh as they may sound, still crafts essentially traditional doom music, only paced much, much slower, and with several atmospheric touches added that makes The Shadow Over Atlantic very close to being a funeral doom album, only without the funeral part… if that makes any sense. Don’t come looking for masterful musicianship (I think there’s only one solo on the album, in The Baptism Of Atlantis, but it’s an amazing one) or highly original songwriting and structure – come for the atmosphere, and stay for the addictive subtleties that you’ll grow to appreciate more after multiple listens. And as quickly as The Shadow Over Atlantis flies through its forty minute running time, I can almost assure you you’ll be embracing several play-throughs wholeheartedly. This is recommended for any doom metal fan.

Killing Songs :
Album as a whole is great
Kyle quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by The Wounded Kings that we have reviewed:
The Wounded Kings - Visions in Bone reviewed by Andy and quoted 86 / 100
The Wounded Kings - Consolamentum reviewed by Andy and quoted 87 / 100
The Wounded Kings - In The Chapel Of The Black Hand reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
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There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:59 pm
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