Given the personnel involved, it should come as no surprise that Kings Destroy are about as straightforward as doom rock gets. The Brooklyn-based five piece boasts members in its ranks of NYHC luminaries Uppercut and Killing Time, as well as Electric Frankenstein. Clearly people who’ve been around a while; clearly people whose interest in fucking around is going to be slim to nil. Which is good, because the double-guitar five-piece’s first output is a self-released two-song 7” named Old Yeller/Medusa after its component tracks and the whole thing is in and out in just about nine minutes, so there’s no room for it anyhow.
Beginning with side A, the guitar-led “Old Yeller” starts off with a creeper Sabbath riff and some solo-era Ozzy vocals from Steve Murphy. Guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski (both of Killing Time) keep the structure simple and slow, which works just fine for drummer Rob Sefcik, who seems to have no trouble keeping the drums lumbering while Ed Bocchino’s bass rumbles underneath. The pace picks up just before three minutes in with a “Children of the Grave”-type rhythm line that adds some shuffle before some more complex Porcaro/Skowronski interplay hints at what might be good things to come from Kings Destroy’s first full-length, set to be recorded this summer with Sanford Parker.
“Medusa,” which starts with a Bocchino bass line, keeps a similar mid-pace tempo without ever losing its groove and, like its predecessor, asks little indulgence to get its point across. There’s more to the arrangement than there was to “Old Yeller,” which had a classic garage-type Maryland (read: Pentagram) feel to it, but it’s not like Kings Destroy are breaking out the mellotrons here. The break to a faster riff comes just after three minutes in, instead of just before, and Murphy does just enough shouting (about two lines) to show the band isn’t afraid of acknowledging those hardcore roots even if they’re not going to be the central musical focus.
Again, “Medusa” seems to be hinting at what’s to come from Kings Destroy, and Old Yeller/Medusa proves to be a demo of the classic definition — a demonstration of a band’s approach and a brief glance at their technique. With the sans-bullshit stylistic simplicity and hardcore connections, I’ll liken them to the West Coast’s Dusted Angel, but Kings Destroy have a little of that Atlantic Seaboard grit that those who surf the Pacific just don’t seem to capture, coupled with some slower pacing that makes everything more melancholic. NYHC aficionados who’ve yet to hear them will be surprised at the stylistic difference, and though they traffic in goods well familiar to doomers, heads tilted in that direction should still welcome the solid use to which Kings Destroy put the style’s foundational elements on their debut.
REMINDER: Kings Destroy will be playing a show May 8 in Hoboken, NJ, sponsored by The Obelisk. More info on that here.Tags: Brooklyn, Kings Destroy, New York, Unsigned bands