Even if melding metalcore with synths has yielded varied results over the years, it at least started out as a boundary-pushing experiment. But putting a sequencer over a Killswitch Engage-style riff is arguably more commonplace now than it ever has been, meaning it only gets more and more difficult to truly stand out.
Kingdom Of Giants have been plugging away for some time now and have possibly deserved more success, and with their fourth record, ‘Passenger’, their fortunes should hopefully change.
Opener ‘Two Suns’ shows that they’ve got a firm grasp of this style, presenting a very strong chorus with a ferocious low end that precedes it makes for a strong start. ‘Night Shift’ is a catchy number that leans in on the synths. The electronics are cleverly applied, and one of the most memorable choruses of the album arrives very early on, with some strong grooves appearing across the album, too. When some try and fail to replicate Bring Me The Horizon‘s recent work, it feels more genuine with Kingdom Of Giants.
Another impressive feat is how even in the sections that appear to be sparse on the surface, there’s always another interesting idea happening in the background. ‘Side Effect’ has a hulky groove, but the sense of atmosphere is still strong. ‘00397’ also leans heavily on the electronic elements, and showcases plenty of tension.
There are some sections that are a little hackneyed, such as ‘Wayfinder’, and a shorter run-time might increase the impact of this record, but it’s refreshing to hear a take on this genre that nails both sides of it. You may get a firm idea of what the record does quite early on, but there are no dramatic dips in form and it’s very consistent on the whole. Furthermore, when one production misfire can often threaten to drag many records like this down, it’s also welcome that this is very strong on a production front.
‘Blue Dream’ is another song that delivers on the melodic front, and ‘Bleach’ also melds melodic hooks with hard-hitting riffs. Vocalist Dana Willax‘s strong sense of melody shines through in ‘Lost Hills’, and the synths are cleverly applied yet again for ‘The Ride’.
In a genre where it’s hard to stand out, Kingdom Of Giants have delivered a record that not only feels strong, but you could also imagine it potentially having mass appeal. ‘Passenger’ is a refreshing addition to a crowded field.