It’s hard to believe that Palace of the King have actually sat still long enough to produce their latest album, Valles Marineris, but these hard gigging, endlessly touring guys, have put together an album that sounds like it should be their twenty-fifth album, but is actually only their second full length album. This album is tight; their signature blues-rock sound ties heavily to early metal influences and by doing so, it makes you feel like these guys have been doing this forever; it is extremely well crafted.
You can tell these guys have a healthy relationship with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, but rather than trying to replicate their styles, the aptly named (I’m hoping this is a Rainbow reference), Palace of the King, have done what many bands struggle to do, which is to create a new sound that hints at the past, harnesses various genres effortlessly but also paves roads to fresher sounds. If you’re a fan of Graveyard, Clutch and/or Orange Goblin, you need this album in your life.
I won’t banter on about this too long, because it’s one of those things where I’m not going to be able to say enough, or too little, depending on your ears for this, but the production on this album is a beautiful thing. It’s mixed incredibly well, the balance between rhythm section and guitar/keys is spot on. Vocal wise, the dirty harmonies that appear across the tracks are hitting the rock n roll nail hard on the head.
The enlistment of soul singing divas is something that I’ve started to hear more of in this new era of blues metal and Mahalia Barnes, appearing on track ‘Black Cloud’ absolutely dominates in this track, there is definitely a space for these badass soul vocals in heavy rock.
Gotta say, I always forget how much I miss keyboard in rock and metal. It’s not as common place as it once was, and I’m glad to report that these guys really use it to their advantage, adding sinister tones to numerous tracks across the album, which really blends well with the distinct vocals of Tim Henwood, formerly of The Superjesus and The Androids, rounding out the sound to keep the tracks from transcending into a hair-metalesque space. If this band does have an actual palace, in this palace there is a Riff-Raff type person permanently sitting at a dusty organ, practicing their tritone, for their next run in with the devil.
This is rock for those of you looking to find the edge. This album walks you right up the edge of hard-rock and gives the finger to some of those entry level metal genres. Full of bendy riffs, heavy drums, punchy vocals and throbbing bass that is reminiscent of the purest forms of early metal styles, this is music that does not draw from the past, but adds to the brand of blues-rock-metal. I think Dio would be proud of you, lads.
Stand out tracks: ‘Beyond The Valley’, ‘Black Cloud’ and ‘Into The Black’
Palace Of The King are launching this album tonight at The Crown and Anchor with Kitchen Witch and Somnium in support. Read our recent chat with Travis from the band.
Reviewed by Lauren McAleer