Heavy is a subjective term when it comes to metal fans and, as such, largely depends on the listener. What’s heavy to one may not be to another, and don’t even get me started on “status quo” because honestly that’s boring as hell. Regardless of where you stand on it, heavy is precisely what The King Is Blind have up their sleeve on sophomore full length We Are the Parasite, We Are the Cancer and it’s not just in their rugged music but also in their continuing message of religion, death, destruction and how all this affects the world as we know it.
Look, as cheesy as that “max volume” statement may have sounded I challenge you to listen to “Like Gods Departed (Plague: Acedia)” at a soft (read: wimpy) volume and be satisfied. The sheer aggression when melody meets ferocity around the halfway mark is the stuff that heavy metal was built on. Simple yet amazingly effective and yep, damn heavy. Compounding and refining their approach from debut full length, Our Father, The King Is Blind lays down a tighter amalgamation of groove-laden modern metal, black metal and the corrosive force of grindcore. Stephen Tovey’s vocals are visceral, to say the least, and Barnaby Monger’s destructive force behind the drums has left my jaw firmly planted on the floor.
The difference from the band’s debut to this second full length is simply that it’s an altogether better written, better executed and better sounding album. On tracks like “As Vermin Swarm (Plague: Ira)” and “Idolatry of Self (Plague: Superbia)” this album’s concepts are loud and clear as these are a duo of the most extreme material the band has done to date but also the most memorable. And truthfully, this is where the band excels the most, not only do they have an album full of contempt for the current state of the world but one that revels in its own heavy DNA. “Embers From a Dying Son (Plague: Gula)” is a full on fisticuffs of black metal and grind while “The Sky Is a Mirror (Plague: Luxuria)” pulls from bluesy doom with pulse quickening tempos interspersed.
The production here is crystal clear allowing every razor tight riff and every guttural groan to take its spot front and center. The songwriting throughout is tailor made for those that prefer their music louder than any normal human being should be able to stand and the outcome is a wholly satisfying one. Put another way: think of an album you’ve heard that gave you the overwhelming feeling of needing to scream out the lyrics while pounding the windows, desk, steering wheel, etc. and you’ll get an idea of the response this album gave me — that “oh yeah” feeling that comes along once in awhile when hearing something that truly connects on some level or another. You might can argue for or against the themes behind the album but you can’t argue when the almighty power of “heavy” strikes in this manner and leaves this kind of an impression.
If current affairs continue to go down the toilet, bands like The King Is Blind will never run out of meaningful music or reasons to be heavier than ever before. With We Are the Parasite, We Are the Cancer the message is clear: as the world burns we will have one of the loudest and most powerfully built soundtracks to watch it go down in flames. So, grab a chair and watch it with me but be forewarned, my volume button doesn’t go down.