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The Wounded Kings : In the Chapel of the Black Hand

Introducing a female singer was for The Wounded Kings some risky business. Still, they managed to keep their unique atmosphere intact.

The Wounded Kings are perhaps one of the most interesting recent Trad Doom bands. Their first two efforts really conveyed something which had never been heard before, and it exuded one of the most absorbing atmospheres ever created. With great expectancy, and perhaps a little bit of apprehension, people awaited the new album featuring a brand new line-up, and especially a female singer.

George Birch's singing on the previous albums played indeed a very important part in the band's alchemy. His deep voice had the inflections of a priest, summoning up demons and carrying you through the veils of darkness. Introducing a new singer meant taking the risk of losing their personality, which could have been a disaster. Fortunately, this didn't happen. Of course, The Wounded Kings won’t sound the same again, but their new compositions remain close enough to the spirit of the first two albums. Sharie Neyland adds something of her own to the overall feel; not only she turns out to be the perfect singer for this album, but she also seems to be able to faithfully cover the band's older songs when performed live, which is very important.

Basically, even after all the line-up changes, the band still sounds the same. Some could compare them to a more sober version of Electric Wizard. Still, belonging to the Traditional Doom Metal sphere, The Wounded Kings sound in fact like a more extreme band bringing Trad Doom to its boundaries. It's slow, very heavy, and perhaps you only have to switch from the unreal chants to pure growls to get an extreme Doom album. Their music has a ‘crypt feel’ to it, like a last cry of despair before the end of all times; that tragic soundscape is built up by a great instrumentation and a smart keyboard work. Remember the emotion carried on 'Let The End Begin' ? It's the same atmosphere.

The album contains only four songs, and one of them could be considered an interlude. The other three are longer than any of the band’s previous songs. Actually, the songwriting seems even more polished than before. However, the sound is still unmistakable: you still get numbed by those very heavy riffs, which make your head nod slowly, and you still get caught in an extremely dark and gripping atmosphere. The most amazing track is the first one, especially because of its second part: there, you hear what this new line-up is able to deliver. All the instruments are sustaining each other, contributing to the most profound instrumentation The Wounded Kings have ever crafted. It's as beautiful as Doom Metal can be.

To each his favourite album, but 'In The Chapel Of The Black Hand' has everything a champion can boast about. Rest assured that The Wounded Kings are still one of the most exciting ‘young’ traditional Doom bands. This new album is an amazing one, and you are left with the highest hope for the future. So if you liked the band recent output, this one is a no-brainer: you have to get it.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Cult of Souls
2. Gates of Oblivion
3. Return of the Sorcerer
4. In the Chapel of the Black Hand

Duration : Approx. 41 minutes

Visit the The Wounded Kings bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-12-01 by Rubén Munoz—Bertrand
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