Release Review: The Wounded Kings – In the Chapel of the Black Hand.

Consider this a formal request: we need more women artists in metal! Not just because they are far better looking than their male counterparts, but because we’ve been shown by artists like Angela Gossow, Mary Abaza, Jo Bench, Anissa Rodriguez and Christina Scabbia, that women can play in metal bands and kick some major ass!

We can now add The Wounded Kings’s vocalist Sharie Neyland to this hopefully growing list.

The Wounded Kings hail from Dartmoor, England and play a form of doom metal/sludge metal that cannot be easily described. All doom metal groups can trace their origins back to Black Sabbath but to say that The Wounded Kings remind me of early Black Sabbath or Candlemass would be doing them an injustice because their music is so hauntingly unique when compared to those doom originators. The fact that the group features a female vocalist makes this specter music even more interesting.

This band was formed in 2005 and had released two prior albums, ‘Embrace of the Narrow House’ andThe Shadow over Atlantis’. Both of those albums featured a male vocalist named George Birch, who was known for his outstanding live performances with the group.

Changing singers is always a tricky move. There is always a risk of alienating the fans that put you on the map in the first place. However, this change appears to be well received by The Wounded Kings’s fanbase and I believe that the haunting vocals of Sharie Neyland had something to do with it. She seems to ooze atmosphere with her voice and is sure to bring a chill up your spine with her annunciations from the netherworld.

The music itself reminds me a lot of an acid trip at a black mass, a unique blend of the psychedelic 60’s and the occult. The spooky guitar work of Steve Mills and Alex Kearney are definitely at the forefront, but, like the fantastic drum work of Mike Heath, they are not the feature of this music but part of an ensemble whose sole purpose is to project eerie imagery to the listener.

The album contains only four tracks and three of those exceed the ten minute mark. This usually spells doom for the listener but the music is definitely interesting enough to keep your attention for the full running time of the album which is just over forty minutes.

Lyrically this band is sound with intelligent tales of Greek gods and Arthurian legends. These tales are delivered with a flair for the ancient laments of old, giving the music an amazing atmospheric setting. This type of “mood metal” is something that hasn’t really been experienced before.

I honestly can not say enough good things about The Wounded Kings or their new album, ‘In the Chapel of the Black Hand‘. It’s a completely unique revitalization of an often ignored genera of metal, a truly outstanding release. \m/

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

The Wounded Kings are:
Steve Mills – Guitar, Hammond, Keys
Sharie Neyland – Vocals
Mike Heath – Drums
Alex Kearney – Guitar
Jim Willumsen – Bass

For more The Wounded Kings:
Facebook
MySpace
Twitter
Last.fm
ReverbNation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73TrP8_0ykI&feature=relmfu

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