Pulver - Kings Under the Sand
Gates of Hell Records
NWOBHM / traditional heavy metal with a stoner touch
8 songs (36'17")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Alex

German Pulver left a very positive impression with their self-titled EP, but I was honestly not sure which heavy metal direction the band will follow. There was so much packed into the three-track release. From Motorhead to Accept to Slough Feg, it seems Pulver covered it all. Not to mention the infectious guitar sound …

Rising intro hints at something heroic and epic with its harmonies, and you are being left in suspense. The rest of Kings Under the Sand builds on all of that EP promise and covers even more ground. Pulver can be gruffness impersonated sticking to almost stoner tubed fuzzy sound (Phantom Hawk). They can slam hammer-on-anvil discreet riffs on title-fitting Blacksmith’s Lament, and then half way through slide into NWOBHM gallop and quirky melodies, reminding me, again, of Slough Feg. They can dial up heaviness at the expense of the flow (Qarinah), or grind it out with a picking melody colored by ethnic Egyptian flourish (Warrior Caste). True to its title, the release has the desert ethnic angle, and it only adds dreamy flavor to the protometal gallop in the title track. Pulver can be very harmonious, going for Battleroar style epicness on Curse of the Pharaoh, swaying to its own set rhythms after a doomier open. The whole of Kings Under the Sand is not very oppressive, but Curse of the Pharaoh provides for an epic ominous closer. Dave Frohlich voice is scraggy, coming as if from a sore irritated throat, but he is particular unhappy on that closing track.

Perhaps instrumental Alpha Omega is the most representative of the multifarious nature of the album. Dreamy, grounded, searching, melody driven and finally resolving itself to a logical end, Alpha Omega is an epitome of how I enjoyed Kings Under the Sand. You simply keep on discovering this album. Guitar sound is warm and natural, and Pulver is not afraid to throw a bluesy solo, while the effort is street/barn/small club honest and extra heartfelt. The first few run throughs are as if you are meeting an old friend. Then you realize that this friend has seen the world and were able to incorporate various experiences in his/her outlook. That’s what Kings Under the Sand is like. Familiar and inviting to a degree, yet full of mythical epic mysteries if you look closer.

Killing Songs :
Blacksmith's Lament, Kings Under the Sand, Alpha Omega, Curse of the Pharaoh
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Pulver that we have reviewed:
Pulver - Pulver reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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