20 Jan 2023 - Simon
Post Sludge, Post Metal | Argonauta Records | Release date: 27 Jan 2023
With enough barely contained visceral energy to power a small town, Raum Kingdom trample all over the idea of the difficult second album.
It’s fair to say that Raum Kingdom has enjoyed a rapid ascent in the musical world which they have inhabited over the last few years. Their debut album Everything and Nothing was lauded by just about everyone, and with good reason too. Then tragedy struck with the untimely passing of bass player Ronan Connor. This album is the band wanting to pay respect to their painful loss with the release of these recordings in his memory.
Right out of the gate with first single “Red Admiral” the band lays down a marker with a deluge of sludge (the very name of this genre fits the sound like a glove) which is suffocating in its intensity, but it never gets too oppressive, allowing moments of utter beauty to punctuate its runtime, like breaking the surface of water after going a little too deep for comfort.
“Hairstreak” starts with a haunting piano dirge before taking an abrupt turn into some downtuned toxic miasma, this is tempered by the gorgeous clean vocals before exploding again. Everything is slightly off kilter, like it’s somehow come loose from its moorings which makes the whole things so very interesting and fascinating.
Third song “Swallowtail” sounds like the bastard child of Chat Pile and Holy Fawn. It starts off like a small ball of snow, falling and gaining momentum and mass before exploding into a maelstrom of unhinged musical cacophany. Claustrophobic and dense, it straddles the line between light and dark better than almost anything I’ve ever heard, the scalpel like precision is a thing of absolute beguiling wonder.
There really is no let up of quality from the rest of the album either - if anything, it only burrows its way under your skin even further with every passing moment. “Gate Keeper” has a serious earworm of a riff which, like light refracting off of waves is a thing of surprising beauty, the increased use of those ethereal clean vocals makes this an astonishingly emotive stand out track.
You know that feeling of being in the middle of a concert crowd with slightly too many people around you, and it can feel intimidating, until you hit that moment of release and everyone just lets go of their inhibitions and experiences a shared moment of cathartic purging which makes you feel good to be alive? Well, this album is that essence distilled into a pure state, it’s a glorious release of pent-up grief, laughter, anger and every single other emotion which makes you glad to be alive.
The band have upped the ante on every metric with this album. They have taken everything that made their debut so intoxicatingly good and wrung even more out of themselves. I can only imagine the state of the band after recording this album but I’m willing to bet they looked like mere husks of human beings, after expelling every ounce of blood sweat and tears they had into this monolithic, visceral slab of grandeur. 2023 has only just started and it’s got off to an almighty band with this album too, it’s utterly brilliant.