Blood of Kings – Starvation

Graveyard Productions/Tridroid Records

Review by Rick Ossian

I have been listening to this recording now for the better part of the week, and it is good, but it is derivative.  There are hints of Maiden, of course (the galloping bass/drum beats), Kixs vocalist, Steve Whiteman, has obviously influenced Nick Paul (guitar and vocals).  Nick is joined by Pete Yore (bass and vocals) and Eric Jelsing (drums).  But that is not what strikes you first about Blood of Kings.  What strikes at you the hardest, the deepest of all, is the tunes themselves.  As I mentioned above, things get a bit derivative (not to mention a bit repetittive), but good all the same.

When first I heard these fellows, I was just SURE there was a female screaming/shrieking/shouting (no offense, Nick).  There is some fine screaming in the lead-off track, Flat Line.  There is also some blues happening here.  Not your deep Southern-fried blues, but ROCK blues.  In between the Maiden-esque gallops and the flights of frenzy vocally, Blood of Kings can actually be pretty darned musical in their own right.  There is a decent guitar solo at about the 3:30 mark, then a bluesy section, then back to slamming thrash at the ending.  An abrupt ending it is, too, which may surprise some folks who are used to long, drawn out finishes.

Starvation, the title track, is another uptempo rocker.  It starts out with some very cool lead guitar work.  This track was one in particular that reminded of Steve from Kix.  But, then, so was the first track.  The title track is one of those ‘hell yeah!’ kind of songs, where you can imagine lots of lighters/smart phones in the air, along with pumping fists, etc.  Without Fear is more of the same (screaming, good riffs, pedal-to-the-metal, erm, metal, if you will.  It is one of the longer tracks, at just over six minutes.  There are others that are longer, but this one is heavier.  Heaviness does not seem to be the trouble with BOK.  If anything, their only problem is their tunes tend to sound the same.

Shakes has more of a classic heavy rock vibe, almost stuck in the 60’s/70’s, some may say.  I was clearly reminded of some of my favourite “garage” bands from the hippie era (Blue Cheer, Amboy Dukes, et.al).  There is a very good guitar solo about 3 minutes in, then more guitar weirdness rounds out the track.  From about 4:00-til the end of the tune, things turn into a veritable riff-fest.

Symbols of Man again features more of a classic heavy rock/psych vibe, then thrash.  Mix in a bit of Maiden (again), and there you have it.  Some slamming riffs, and a wicked guitar solo at about the 4-minute mark.  They double-time it for about the last minute or so.  Heart For the Land starts us off with a bit of feedback, then straight into the old-school funky/thrashy/metal vibe again, with screaming vocals on top.  The band namecheck themselves in this number.  I was wondering when this was going to happen.  Again, a guitar solo at the 4-minute mark, then more Maiden galloping at about six minutes in.  One more guitar solo, then a really nice jam outro at the end.

Time Has No Mercy slams straight out of the gate – it seems as if the lads are hell-bent on destroying their instruments with this last number.  At 3:30 they slow down for a little heavy rock bluesy sludge, then one more good jam at the end.  If it wasn’t so old school (or old hat), I’d probably rate it higher.  Guess I’ve just had enough thrash mixed with the blues!

****/5

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