The Wounded Kings - Consolamentum
Candlelight Records
Doom Metal
7 songs (47' 37")
Release year: 2014
Myspace, Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Andy

Ever since picking up The Wounded Kings' sophomore album, I've watched them closely as their sound has changed. Though I don't believe they've surpassed the superb The Shadow Over Atlantis quite yet, their newest album, Consolamentum, is a marked improvement over the last album and brings back a bit more of the cosmic atmosphere that made that one so good.

Starting with Gnosis, a thirteen-minute dragger of a song circled by distorted guitar arpeggios, the music creeps along almost at funeral-doom slowness. Five minutes into the song, though, the verse speeds to a swinging beat, Black Sabbath in space...and abruptly goes even slower and more crushingly, as frontwoman Sharie Neyland's wailed vocals slow down to match. Lost Bride, shorter but with an awesome chorus hook, really showcases those vocals. Neyland can't provide quite as much atmosphere as former vocalist George Birch, and her vocals are almost tuneless much of the time, but she makes up for it with a long, low-voiced vibrato that provides an excellent counterpoint to the downtuned overdrive of the guitars. The title track isn't quite as striking as the first two tracks, though the quiet, unassuming acoustic guitar slowly getting taken over by the distorted guitar is a nice touch.

The Silence is intentionally dreary and introspective, sung in a rather subdued manner but with the guitar mix pushed further to the front, making the riffs bolder -- and partway through comes a whining organ. Here is where all the dreamily horror-filled atmosphere from TSOA has been bottled up, and after a long passage of hesitant-sounding guitar noise, the organ/guitar/wah-wah solo combo bursts out at the listener in a magnificent avalanche of musical energy. The album closes after a final track consisting, one feels, of some leftover doom riffs that were left on the cutting-room floor, but that The Wounded Kings felt should be included at the end. It's nice to hear, but it, like the other two short instrumental tracks on the album, doesn't feel like it's being used for much, either atmosphere or album filler.

Nitpicks aside, Consolamentum is, as mentioned, an improvement; and it and shows the band becoming more comfortable with being a quintet with a female lead instead of a duo who did everything themselves. Neyland seems more adept on this one in evoking the misty sonic menace that The Wounded Kings were always able to produce, and it seems that future albums are going to continue in the same vein -- a good thing for the discriminating doom listener.

Killing Songs :
Gnosis, Lost Bride, The Silence
Andy quoted 87 / 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 - In The Chapel Of The Black Hand reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
The Wounded Kings - The Shadow Over Atlantis reviewed by Kyle and quoted 83 / 100
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