Kings Destroy are a stoner/doom band from Brooklyn, NY. Their MySpace page is here. This CD is independently released; you can purchase it here. It’s worth it.

Their music has an old-school feel, amplified by Sanford Parker‘s production. Everything sounds like it was recorded live in a single large-ish room, and most of it probably was. The occasional overdubs (an acoustic guitar here or there) are never obtrusive. The riffs are slow and downtuned in a manner that owes more to the Melvins than Black Sabbath; “Dusty Mummy” even sounds like a song title Buzz Osborne would have come up with. Vocalist Steve Murphy has a harsh, grating yowl with just enough low end in his range to keep him in Ozzy (circa Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Sabotage) territory. On some songs, like “The Whittler,” he goes for a somewhat affectless grunge moan on the verses, which is surprisingly effective.

The songs too frequently rely on slow-crawling unison riffing from guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski (bassist Ed Bocchino is mostly a theoretical presence, until he’s heard introducing the fifth track, “Medusa”) rather than a looser, more jamming structure that might have given them the swing Sabbath had in spades. Of course, Sabbath also had Bill Ward, and while Kings Destroy’s drummer, Rob Sefcik, keeps excellent time and knows how to maintain listener interest even at slow speeds, he’s not a jazz cat in disguise, to the band’s detriment. When the tempo picks up (as on the aforementioned “The Whittler”), it’s not by much—they don’t suddenly become a thrash band—but it’s nonetheless a pleasant surprise.

Another pleasant surprise is the relative concision of the songs. Too many doom bands think they’ve got a half-hour (or more!) opus in them, and it frequently turns into just an excuse to let the amps feed back while the drummer abuses his cymbals. These guys keep almost everything in the four- to five-minute range, which makes the decision to start the album with their three longest songs (6:33/7:12/6:22) somewhat puzzling. But chugging mid-disc rockers like “Planet XXY” have the churning thunder of early Soundgarden, which is a good thing. These guys aren’t world-beaters, but they’ve got a lot of good ideas and almost no bad ones, and when you consider the general shittiness of New York rock these days, that’s a pretty ringing endorsement. They’re definitely worth your ten bucks.

Phil Freeman

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