When trying to find the quintessential doom metal track, there are a few key elements to look for. It should be dark and brooding yet haunting and melodic. The Wounded Kings fulfill all of these requirements with an almost fourteen minute long opening track. The vocals hold an ominous, bleak echo that creeps into your bones accompanied by chilling guitar riffs and melodious synthetic elaboration that pulls you into the catacombs of fallen leaders.
Let me remind you, this is only the first track of Consolamentum.
What makes this all the more remarkable is that this lineup of The Wounded Kings is still relatively new. It’s always sad when members of a band move their separate ways, especially when the band has such a unique chemistry. It begs the question of whether or not a reboot of the group is in order, or if they should just let sleeping dogs lie. This exact situation came to fruition for founding member Steve Mills as his band mates all left to pursue other careers or family lives. Thankfully, Mills made the decision to soldier on with The Wounded Kings and a new lineup was born. Debuting with 2011’s In The Chapel of the Black Hand, the new lineup saw the addition of a brutally heavy rhythm section, anchored by the eerily obscure vocals of Sharie Neyland.
The decision to continue on with The Wounded Kings was indeed the correct one and Consolamentum is proof of that. The album conjures up images of cathedrals and ritualistic black magick with a pinch of brooding. And when I say pinch, I’m measuring as if I were a Goliath. The bands entire sound pays homage to the word ‘doom’ in every sense. The guitar licks leave a chilling, evil-sounding shroud throughout the songs that make them sound like they crawled out from the depths of hell. On “Lost Bride” scenes of lamentation play in my mind along with the tormented cry of the vocals, while “Elige Magisturm” reminds me of battle scenes in fantasy movies and books that I’ve enjoyed over the years, the perfect soundtrack for clashing blades and crashing armor. The albums title track makes me think of Endura, the ritual of fasting upon ones inevitable passing during the latter years of Catharism, while “Space Conqueror” comes in melodic, almost entrancing. The sound is as expansive as a galaxy yet as calm as a graveyard. All together, there is a strong culmination and ample tale that runs throughout Consolamentum.
All in all, from not knowing a thing about this band, I have now become a fan of their lyrical presentation accompanied with resonant metal. Really, the only drawback to be found on the album is that the vocals have a tendency to drown in the sludgy music in some songs, but honestly, it kind of fits in a complementary way, with both elements building upon one another, making Consolamentum a welcome addition to my musical collection.