The Wounded Kings - Consolamentum (Candlelight Records)

Hair-raisingly fine stuff...
Release Date: 
23 Feb 2014 - 11:30pm

Beautiful, just beautiful. Female fronted doom/death (where the death part is strictly on the musical side, echoing early My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost at their gothic early nineties best in places) is the name of the game, and Devonian miserablists The Wounded Kings leave no stone unturned on new offering Consolamentum in their effort to drive home the news that ours in an incredibly wretched existence indeed…

The centrepiece of all this sloth-paced mayhem is the incredible vocal performance of Sherie Neyland, whose ethereal, oft-otherworldly howl transforms the thick, crusty sludge being churned out around her into something very special indeed. That’s not to belittle the performances of the others in the band – Steve Mills, Mike Heath, Alex Kearney and Al Eliadis more than hold their own in every department, especially on the two gargantuan epics found on Consolamentum, Gnosis and The Silence; It’s just that, without Neyland’s absolutely stunning vocal presence what we’d have on our hands here would be just a very good metal album, as opposed to an essential one.

Take the orgiastic denouement of The Silence, for instance, where the soulful, almost Floydian guitars of Mills and Kenney meld with Neyland’s stentorian wail to produce a truly hair-raising five minute passage of music. It’s utterly magnificent, devastating stuff,  but perhaps Neyland’s greatest contribution to the record comes on the sinister Lost Bride, where she sounds like nothing less than a confused, possibly drug-addled relative of celebrated rock n’roll nutcase Marianne Faithful. It’s a genuinely disturbing performance, rich in menace and pathos and worth the admission fee on it’s own when she wails ‘I am yours and you are mine’ in suitably bunny boileresque fashion. You’ll need a shower  to clean off the patina of fear and a stiff drink to regain equilibrium after listening to this, let me tell you.

This is pretty much as good as it gets in it’s field, and if you have a soft spot for the early nineties Brit metal scene you’ll absolutely love what’s going on on Consolamentum. Highly recommended.