With their third album in four years, Kings Destroy leave their hardcore-born stamp on noise rock and doom. After sharing stages with Pentagram, Winter, Saint Vitus, Church of Misery, Pallbearer, Vista Chino, Orange Goblin, Trouble, Acid King, C.O.C. – and many more – the Brooklyn five-piece stand tall with their defining statement.
It’s no coincidence the record is self-titled. Also their third collaboration with producer Sanford Parker, it is the landing point to which their first two albums – 2010’s And the Rest Will Surely Perish and 2013’s A Time of Hunting – were leading. Kings Destroy is the best studio translation yet of their live sound, and it’s their most representative material, ripping through the sanitized, reified, name-brand strip mall fashion statement vision of “the city” to the thick-blooded intensity lurking beneath, waiting to surface.
Kings Destroy aren’t the dirt under your fingernails, they’re the smog in your lungs. Songs like “Mr. O” are faster and more cutting than the band has ever been, while closer “Time for War” seethes with a brooding restlessness after the dare-to-be-hopeful “Green Diamonds.” Even the album’s opening paean to Motown’s Smokey Robinson has a heavy-footed, almost mechanical stomp, and as the gritty disaffection of “Mytho” unfolds from the open-spaced doom riffing of “W2,” one gets a sense of just how spiritually and mentally crushing the city can be.
More of a thematic work than a concept album, Kings Destroy isn’t always direct – “Embers” reimagines jutting docks as fjords and businesspeople as soldiers marching in time – but even when the lyrics take the listener someplace else, musically, the band retains the inimitable mark of the place that birthed them: Not nearly as gone from time as the smiling faces in tourism commercials would have you believe.