Album Review: King Abyss - Snake Oil
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
They’ve been causing ripples over the past few years, and now it’s time for Staffordshire’s King Abyss to unleash their debut album, ‘Snake Oil’ on the world. They’ve been purveyors of melodic thrash since their conception in 2016. Although King Abyss have released a couple of EPs, they don’t rely too much on them to populate ‘Snake Oil’. What we get is fresh music delivered with a decent production and quality… but with one final twist in the tail that leaves questions in my mind.
Is there much new about King Abyss and their musical approach? Well, they certainly have their own style, but as one would expect with a band whose sit under the thrash label, there are plenty of influences that loom large as you play through the nine-track, 45-minute release.
The first thing that catches the ear is the deep, embedded groove that runs through the album. Sam Bryan deals with the low end, locking in tight with drummer George Heathcote. The first three songs are powerful, muscular, and drive forward. When we arrive at ‘Disdain’ we hit the first curved ball. Singer Dom Bould drops his raging growling that is delivered in the style of Ade Mayes of Krysthla, taking on a much cleaner style for the opening section of a song that hovers dangerously close to ballad. The Sabbath style (think ‘Fluff’) ‘Interlude’ provides respite before the Metallica style outro launches us into ‘Fear the Dead’, the song that featured on 2017’s ‘Reborn’. It’s frantic and enjoyable, albeit a little predictable. The spitting rage of ‘A Short Stop and A Sudden Drop’ is punctuated by staccato elements to the time signature. It’s certainly the most aggressive track here and possibly the most individually expressive, with some vibrant guitar work.
However, everything that comes in the first 35 minutes of the album is forgotten when you arrive at the final track. ‘Nibiru’ stands alone, a 9:30 climax to conclude the release. I admire King Abyss’ attempt to bring the album to an end with an epic, but this draws a little too deep from the Metallica catalogue, as you can genuinely play spot the Metallica similarity as it progresses. The thrash legends influence isn’t so much sprinkled as completely poured over this instrumental.