Blood of Kingu return with furious dose of black metal on ‘Dark Star on the Right Horn…’

Kingu coverIt’s not really wise to say I’ve missed the fellows from Ukraine’s Blood of Kingu considering the members have been fairly prolific the past few years. All of the members are part of long-running Drudkh, a favorite of this particular site, as well as Old Silver Key, who sadly closed shop after one great full-length.

But Blood of Kingu is a far different beast than those other bands. This is their vicious, wholly black metal-fed monster, and their new record “Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon” is their first since 2010’s somewhat-easier-to-say effort “Sun in the House of the Scorpion.” What does carry over to this band is the group’s refusal to participate in interviews or promo shots or any over-the-top marketing campaign of any type, so what you’re left with to digest is the music alone. What a refreshing way to go, and who really cares about whether there’s a photo of the band anyway? Well, glossy color magazines do, I guess. But here, it’s the music that demands your attention and nothing else.

Anyway, the core of the band remains intact, with one important new member added to the fold. Roman Saenko is your vocalist/guitarist, and he offers up some of his most brutal, blood-gushing work to date on this record. With him as always are guitarist Thurios, bassist Krechet, drummer Yuriy Sinitsky, and brand-new keyboard player Vlad, also a member of Drudkh, as well as bands such as Deliberate Chaos and Pragmatik. With these nine songs, they turn up the destruction to new heights and deliver one of their most satisfying releases ever. Hell, I wouldn’t throw you out of the room if you said it was their best work ever.

We start off with “Crowned Scarlet Moon Is Waiting for Eclipse” that has eerie noises built into it but that completely ignites into black metal madness. The guitars spiral and create a vortex effect, the growls are deep and guttural, the drums echo, and the music itself penetrates deep into your pores. “He Who Is Not To Be Named” is not a Harry Potter reference. Instead, it’s a heavy dose of ancient pestilence, with horns blowing like there is going to be a great battle in the sand, and the blood of soldiers and slaves are about to be shed. The music is infernal and burning, the drums are hammered by mallets, and the vocals are on fire. “Mother Hydra” has a bit of hand drumming, which is the only delicate element of the track. The vocals buzz in Saenko’s throat, feeling alien-like, and the rest of the band serves up a total drubbing. “Enshrined in the Nethermost Lairs Beneath the Ocean” not only sounds like the most terrifying place on Earth, the music lets you know it is. Punishing drums, deep growls, lead lines that send jolts down the spine, and more throat buzzing dress this piece of abject horror.

“Red Star on the Path of Ea” is a brief, sandy instrumental that leads into “Sigil of the Watcher,” a dark, threatening piece that continues to mash your already-brutalized senses with damaged, swirling guitars, drums that seek to do damage to your bone structure, and vocals that are choked with menace. “Prayer to the Gods of Night” is another quick, instrumental interlude that carves the path toward “The Bringer of Pestilence,” a track that is as ominous and dangerous as its name implies. There is fantastic, melodic lead work that powers the song forward, interesting musical progression that keeps you wondering where you’re headed next, and, naturally, vocals that shred skin. Closer “The Cycle Returneth” opens with hammering drums, vicious growls that spit venom into the wind, violent melodies, and that tornadic effect again, where it feels like you’re encircled by the band’s fury, pulled into a dark vortex, and swallowed into oblivion. Perfect ending to a clobbering record.

So, it might be a while before we hear from Blood of Kingu’s members in this incarnation, but we know the musicians responsible for “Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon” will be back with us in some form or another. This record is another gem of disaster from these guys, one of the most pulverizing documents in their entire creative canon, no matter what band you’re talking about. This record is worth embracing for its black metal magic, its intent to do harm, and for its infectious pull that engages your mind and then maims it without ever looking back.

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