13 Jan 2022 - Thorsten
Psychedelic Doom | Release date: 14 Jan 2022 | Favorite song: Succumb To The Void
King Bastard might be one of the strangest names I have heard in a long time, because if there is one thing that history taught us over the centuries, it’s that bastards (normally) don’t become kings. So the name in itself is a paradox which will make you think – even though that is exactly the thing the band from the State of New York do not necessarily want you to do. It’s more about the emotions and how to influence them on their debut full-length It Came From The Void.
King Bastard’s music is a bastard of doom and psychedelic jams and the record is really able to give you the creepy shivers and simultaneously a warm, fuzzy feeling of getting back to a place basically unknown to you. The speed of the songs is usually a little slower than mid-tempo, always that little notch beneath your average psychedelia and a clear step above doom’s slow songs. The quartet can rely on the really effective rhythm section of Arthur Ebb on the bass and Matt Ryan (no, not the football player!) on drums and percussion. The other two members are Mike Verni on the guitar and Isabel Guido on the synth and on the sax and also delivering the vocals. However, it must be clear that vocals are a rarity on It Came From The Void, but one will encounter several spoken word samples which sound as if they had been taken straight outta classic horror movies from the 1950s or 60s.
The sax and those vocal samples are two major reasons for the aforementioned warm feeling because one already knows because of the intonation of these vocals that there is nothing to fear here but that one might encounter some of these simple shivers down the spine. Four of the six tracks are somewhat longer with the final one ”Succumb To The Void” being the longest and clocking in at 10:44 minutes; the shortest one is ”Kelper-452b” with 5:40.
Looking at these song titles one might get the idea of dealing with a concept album and indeed there is a certain concept at play here: The listener is following several astronauts on their way into space, leaving a rotten and decaying mother Earth behind searching for another home. During their voyage they are alienated from their superiors and have to survive on their own. Each song serves as one chapter in the story and when listening to it, it becomes pretty obvious that this story is not a happy one.
The record starts with a warm fuzz-riff laid out over a simple beat. And when the guitar is then turning from riff to adding some bright spots in the form of some funky licks not unlike some of the 70s rock greats – choose for yourself which one might be the best comparison here. Those spacey reverbs created by the synth are wonderful add-ons and really purvey the feeling of having stepped into a 70s groove party between early Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead and some 90s heroes like the Melvins or Slo-Burn.
Many people might ignore this record at the moment, but when summer comes, this record should be at the back of your head when cruising along the highway of your choice with the sun in your back and the windows rolled down. When the warm air comes in and basically screams for a sonic equivalent. It Came From The Void is exactly that – warm, pushing and full of embracing fuzz and distortion.