The Obelisk Presents: King Dead, King Buffalo and Dead Men at The Living Room, Stroudsberg, PA, 04.16.16

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on February 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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I said last month that I wanted to start presenting more shows this year, and on April 16, I’m glad to say The Obelisk will present the record release gig for King Dead‘s debut album, Woe and Judgment (review here). Initially released digitally last fall, the atmospheric sludgers’ first outing is being pressed to vinyl supported by funds from preorders, and to mark the occasion of its impending arrival, King Dead will be joined at The Living Room in Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania, by upstate New York heavy psych rockers King Buffalo and hometown newcomers Dead Men.

King Dead‘s lurching malevolence is writ large over the three-song Woe and Judgment, evocative in its instrumental lurch and consuming in its tones. I can speak to experience on having seen them share the stage with Rochester’s King Buffalo at The Living Room, and they made a fitting one-two. King Buffalo head to PA in advance of the arrival of their own debut LP, Orion, which was being mastered as of last week and is likely done by now or close to it. Of course, they’ll also be playing The Obelisk All-Dayer in August, and if you want to consider their live show doubly endorsed by me, that’s certainly cool on my end.

Opening for the two kingly acts will be Dead Men, a trio who released their first demo track in December in a song called “Unclear.” Heavy punk has a hold in their style, but their tones are more weighted and should lead well into King Buffalo‘s classic, somewhat more pastoral style en route to King Dead‘s bleaker spaciousness. Nothing like a night that flows well, and I hear King Dead have been working on new material and in fact may or may not have started recording a follow-up for Woe and Judgment by the time the show comes around, so all the better. Bottom line is I’m thrilled to be able to highlight this one, and hope that if you’re in the area on April 16 you’ll be able to make it out:

The Obelisk Presents:
King Dead Record Release
w/ King Buffalo & Dead Men
April 16, 2016
The Living Room
Stroudsberg, PA

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King Buffalo on Bandcamp

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

Posted in audiObelisk on October 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

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.

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King Dead on Bandcamp

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