King Dead Premiere “Firmament” from Debut LP Woe and Judgment

king dead (Photo by Shy Kennedy)

Pennsylvania mostly-instrumentalists King Dead are set to make their full-length debut any day now. Really, any day. Their first album, Woe and Judgment, will be released digitally before too long as part of a fundraising effort to support a 2016 vinyl release, so yeah, it’s coming very soon. The three-piece impressed with the spacious post-metal textures of their first demo (review here) last year, but as the stream below of the track “Firmament” — the complete, Red Sparowes-esque title is “The Firmament of Heaven Opened, and the Flood Waters Were upon Them” — the scope has expanded considerably even from where it started. With three tracks constructed to fit on two sides, King Dead — four-string bassist Kevin Vanderhoof, six-string bassist Will McGrath and no-strings drummer Steve Truglio — push themselves into an encompassing rumble that still seems to hold onto a human core even as it lumbers between airy doom and rawer, thoroughly-reverbed noise.

When I asked Truglio, whom it has been my pleasure to know personally and professionally for years and years and years at this point, for a quote about the song to use with the post, he had this to say:

“We’ve been opening our set with this lately, and it’s funny that people seem to think it’s our soundcheck for the first couple minutes. Yeah, shit’s gettin’ pretty weird.”

king dead woe and judgment“Shit’s gettin’ pretty weird” is a fitting summary of what’s happening on “The Firmament of Heaven Opened, and the Flood Waters Were upon Them,” but hardly the whole story. True enough, the first couple minutes are dedicated to establishing a kind of foundational churn, the ambient experimental core on which the song’s rollout will take place. Gradually, McGrath, Vanderhoof and Truglio establish a slow roll and embark on a linear build that works in stages across the remainder of the song’s eight-plus minutes. The cut with which it shares the intended side A of Woe and Judgment, “A Monument to Decline,” is led into by a finale of feedback that gives way to a more immediate stomp, the drums thudding and the strings jangling in echoes like sliding footsteps as the initial stage of the track gets underway. A midsection break veers into softer but still hypnotic spaces, but they finish with more rhythmically intense crunch, vaguely attributable to a Neurosis influence, but given its own context through King Dead‘s by-then well established mood.

As for side B, it’s pretty much a universe of its own with the 20-minute “The Coward, the Thieving Liar” consuming its entirety, but sure enough the song does break down into somewhat more manageable pieces around halfway through, shifting between sample-laden ’90s-style atmospheric sludge, abrasive noise, Floydian psychedelics and a final build — complete with what seems to be some vocals — that gives way to feedback and amp buzz to finish out. All told, it’s an immersive 37-minute stretch, but lack of pretense prevails, and King Dead‘s debut long-player finds them aesthetically locked in and proffering a balance between the raw and the lush, with a patience underlying that only makes the songs seem more methodical.

Get a handle on “The Firmament of Heaven Opened, and the Flood Waters Were upon Them” on the player below. The album will be available through their Bandcamp. More on the vinyl release when I hear it:

King Dead have been conspicuoulsy haunting the Stroudsburg PA area lately. Bass players Will McGrath and Kevin Vanderhoof, recruited New Jersey Transplant Steve Truglio on drums last summer, and have begun to wander around the NEPA/NJ area. Their debut record on the cusp of release, was recorded LIVE in their practice and performance home venue at The Living Room in Stroudsburg by Dave Reiser of ROCK HARD STUDIOS. They definitely have their own sound.

Call it sludge, doom, or what we like to say is spaghetti western doom sludge, it sure doesnt sound like yer typical heavy 3 piece band these days. With virtually no vocals, aside from one song(not on the record) and a whistle solo in another, its all about dynamics and the building tempos. Creepy, dreary, sleepy and melodic riffs layered over deep bottom and pounding drums.

King Dead on Thee Facebooks

King Dead on Bandcamp

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One Response to “King Dead Premiere “Firmament” from Debut LP Woe and Judgment

  1. […] and drum outfit King Dead have premiered their new full-length record, Woe & Judgement, at The Obelisk. The record is officially out now and can be purchased through the band’s Bandcamp. The […]

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