The Wounded Kings – Consolamentum (Candlelight)

Friday, 17th January 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Reading something like “The misty moors of Dartmoor,” and it’s like “Okay, so it rains all the time, the sun is out two days of the year, and when it gets around 20 degrees Celsius, it’s time to break out the shorts,” right? That’s how DR, in its ever-shrinking brain capacity can spin such a description, only because we frequented the fine country of England in the last 12 months. But these are the type of visuals needed to convey the brand of haunting sludge/doom The Wounded Kings are putting out on their fourth album, Consolamentum.

Produced by the same gentlemen that has to sort out the overrated audio mess that is Electric Wizard (Chris Fielding; and yeah, they’re darn overrated all right), the sonics here are naturally, big and blustery. Amps turned up, bass blowing hard…that kind of thing. While this is hardly a revelation, the eerie plod of the album’s seven cuts strike a chord, most notably on the Vol. 4 splurge of “Lost Bride” (can’t you picture Ozzy howling over this?) or the blacked-out haunting(s) of “The Silence.” And when surrounded by a pair well-placed interludes (“Elige Magistrum” and “Space Conqueror,” which is rather bleak), the album gathers up a nice little head of steam, all without heading down those rather boring (and annoying) paths of mindless repetition designed for the stoner crowd.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the haunting vocal lines (she probably gets that a lot) of Sharie Neyland, who is the ultimate differentiator when it comes to The Wounded Kings and the rest of the sludge/doom pack. She’s convincing enough to sound like she’s possessed, so when the needle drops on a handful of Consolamentum’s better cuts, that’s when the dots are connected to show that The Wounded Kings are far more than another ho-hum face in the crowd.

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