Rotting Kingdom - A Deeper Shade of Sorrow
Godz Ov War Productions
Doom Death
6 songs (38'22")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Rotting Kingdom, despite their youth, can seriously contend for one of the coolest monikers in metal. Yet naming your band cleverly but having no substance behind your music would have been an opportunity lost. Fortunately, A Deeper Shade of Sorrow, the band’s full-length debut, proves it not to be the case.

When you are called Rotting Kingdom this expression can cover a state of affairs on all levels, personal, national or planetary, and playing extreme metal is a must. I can’t quite guess what level of depravity this Kentucky troupe reaches down to, but the music they play is very gloomy, and at the same time very austere, almost ascetic, doom death metal. There are no flourishes, no symphonics, no keyboards or violin, just energetic and dynamic rhythm section, weaving guitar harmonies and beyond the coffin voice (Barren Harvest), once in a while interrupted by a vomitous yell (The Antechambers of Eternity). Whenever things begin with forceful riffs (Sculpted into Life by the Hand of Death), or a burst of death metal (Barren Harvest, Absolute Ruin), the slumbering dreaminess follows (Sculpted into Life by the Hand of Death). Mournful and sad harmonies delivered with low timbre drilling guitars are almost immediately noticeable (Barren Harvest), and even when things don’t slow down the melody continues to flow, similarly to what Dismember would have had (Absolute Ruin). Most relevant, however, are comparisons with US stalwarts Novembers Doom and Morgion. This stuff is raw, dense, emotional and pure, but doesn’t resort to any instrumentation outside of traditional metal guitars, base and drums to deliver.

Either it took me a little to get into A Deeper Shade of Sorrow or the band on purpose saved its best for last, but every time I listened to the album I consistently preferred the closing pair of tracks, The Antechambers of Eternity and the title song. Detuned opening of The Antechambers of Eternity over militaristic beat brings out apocalyptic vision immediately, justifying the band’s moniker completely (yes I know, I mused on the subject already). Four minutes in you will feel that there is nothing left, nothing worth caring or living for anyway, and then the band uncorks a devastating transition, an unrivaled funeral melody over tugging bass strings, the clarion sad moment and closing harmony. The title track is one of the few to begin on a clear note, with glistening cymbals, but the riff explosion follows, melodious, as always, and mid-song funeral breakdown is just as powerful as the final guitar cascade.

Lexington, Kentucky, may not be the place you confuse for metal hotbed, but Rotting Kingdom made that town proud.

Killing Songs :
The Antechambers of Eternity, A Deeper Shade of Sorrow
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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