Kingdom Of Sorrow/Beyond The Blackest Tears

Behind the Blackest TearsKingdom of Sorrow, sometimes abbreviated to KoS, is an American sludge metal[1] band formed in February 2005[1] as a side project. It features Kirk Windstein of Crowbar and Down and Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed.

Kingdom of Sorrow was founded over a decade ago when the Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta introduced himself to Down/Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein at a show at Pearl Street in Northampton, Massachusetts. A short time later Jasta, who actively booked shows throughout New England in the early nineties, put up the cash for a Napalm Death/Crowbar show in order that Hatebreed could play with one of his favorite bands. Ever since, the two have remained in close contact and become the best of friends over the subsequent decade.

Jasta and Hatebreed invited Crowbar out for a UK run of dates in March 2005. It was there that the two friends decided to combine forces on a band based on their mutual affinity for the hallmarks of the genre (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Pantera) and their history of writing some of the heaviest hitting metal of the past fifteen years.

The duo holed-up in Silver Bullet Studios in Connecticut in May 2005 and once again when Kirk relocated post-Katrina to write and assemble what would become the very first Kingdom of Sorrow album. The first taste of the untitled project surfaced in the form of the track “Buried in Black” on Roadrunner Records,’MTV2 Headbangers Ball: The Revenge’ compilation (released April 2006). It was not long before “Buried in Black” appeared on metal radio shows the world over and became a staple on Sirius’ “Hard Attack”.

While the writing flowed fast, progress was slow due to the pair’s commitments to their main bands that wrote, released, and toured extensively, on new records through 2006 and 2007. Songs were deconstructed, reconstructed, written and recorded again in Planet Z Studios with Zeuss until the duo was completely satisfied with the outcome. Jasta commented on the writing process, “It really was probably the best time I’ve ever had in the studio. As far as creatively…it was such a liberating thing. We felt like, “It’s a new band. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks.” We’re just doing it because we want to do it. So it was a totally genuine and pure creative process.”

Kingdom of Sorrow inked a deal with Relapse Records in fall 2007 and began plans to unveil the record they had spent the better part of two years creating.

On August 5th and 6th, 2008, Kingdom of Sorrow played at the First Annual Mayhem Festival on the Jagermeister Stage at the Comcast Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, Massachusetts and the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York, respectively.

According to a myspace blog on March 30th, the band announced that their next album will be called Behind the Blackest Tears and will be released June 8th on Relapse records. [Wikipedia]

Enlightened To Extinction—-From the very first strains of the song’s opening, you recognize the distinct Sabbath sludge to the sound of the music…this is deep and dirty. The guitars and drums work in tandem to create a huge atmosphere that ushers in the welcoming and fantastic vocal of Jasta. The sense of melody is something you will not hear on a Hatebreed record…it is a welcome and wonderful addition to the sound of the band. This is fantastic…my blood boils and my excitement is almost uncontrollable…this is exquisite.

God’s Law In The Devil’s Land—-This is nice….the only think I really miss the hyper, almost euphoric thrash style of Hatebreed that is nowhere to be found on this disc. That put aside, it is a pure joy to be a Jamey Jasta fan in the last 12 months…this guy is busy…the Hatebreed covers release…a brand new Hatebreed disc and now this release…I love this little dynamo. The anger and ire of Jasta remains intact…the production value on this disc is superb and the energy that runs through the underlying guitar line is fantastic. The vocal overlays and melodies are fantastic…this is really fantastic.

Monuments Of Ash—-Jasta gives his best pissed off musician impression ever. The trade-off on vocals adds a nice dynamic to the band and the delivery. This is really deep in sound…the leads are almost lost in the huge sound of the bass guitar…none the less, it is wonderful. The chorus is so Metallica you will reach for some of the older releases and spend an afternoon lost in thrash land. This is fantastic…wonderful…aggressive…melodic…I could not ask for more!!!

Behind The Blackest Tears—-This is much more paced towards the Hatebreed fan…the venom that emits from Jasta is wonderful…the layers and layers of sound create this huge mural of dark sounds that again reminds me of classic old school Metallica when the music they made mattered. This is my favorite track thus far…it manages to capture a new energy, a huge wall of sound and a remarkable melody that rises above the dirge. This is classic thrash metal.

Envision The Divide—-I love the tradeoff of vocals between Jasta and Windstein….it keeps the sound on this release fresh and new. There is little chance to be bored with this…the track offers up a remarkable drum track and the bass level of the song is so deep your ears will bleed for a few moments after you indulge. This is true, real and the future. Thanks Guys!!!

From Ashes To Dust—-From the onset, this is a surprise….the sound is almost acoustic and very sublime. Jasta again reminds us that he can really sing…not just holler his way through a song. The song kicks into gear and evolves into a huge negative ballad of fantastic proportions. This is soaring at times…the lead guitars actually surface from below the bass dirge to really shine…the drums are more in the front of the mix and the lyrics are introspective and marvelous. This is stellar!!!

Along the Path To Ruin—-This begins in a rather aggressive tone…the leads are much more in the forefront and the vocals are much more anger fueled and thrash oriented. Windstein provides the melody next to the rants of Jasta in a masterful way…this relationship seems to work really well. The result is a magna opus of aggression that allows my heart to smile and my soul to believe that the Metal movement in this country is alive and well. Rock on……!!!

With Barely A Breath—-This is huge, layered and much more aggressive. Again, the vocal trade-off allows this release to remain fresh and interesting. I’m telling you, this is the best Metallica record never made by Metallica. The energy and the invigoration is fresh and new…the dirge is old school and the melodies are seldom heard in this genre…I could not be more satisfied with this release. Freakin’ monumental!!!

The Death We Owe—-Coming out of a haze of nice feedback, the bass returns in full form within minutes of the beginning of the song. The vocal once again reminds us that Jasta can do much more than just scream and rant…even though that seems to be his true forte’. None the less, the combination of these two voices come together and the result is a tour de force of magnificent sounds and energy. This is brilliant!!!

Sleeping Beast—-Wow….this is pretty intense from the very first chord. This is a nice return to the hardcore form that Jasta’s home band is known for. This makes me want to jump up and down, scream and holler and yank my hair out. Do I need to say anymore? You must hear this….this is by far a high point on this release…magnificent!!!

Torchlight Procession—-This is nice…suffering a bit from the deep relentless sound, none the less it is still pleasing and satisfying. I love the trade-off vocal style of this incarnation of bands coming together and reminding the Metal community of why we love what we do. This is full fo every sound that will trip the triggers of any true metal fan. Long live KOS…this is genius!!!

Salvation Denied—-WOW!!! What a great and monumental way to end this release. The song is hyper-kinetic Metal delivered with a passion that is hard to find anywhere these days. Jasta fits so many words in one sentence you fear he will suffocate from the lack of breath…the result is a huge, dirge and at times fresh sounding rant through the Metal wasteland of US outputs. This band has a great future…lets hope we do not have to wait YEARS for the nest release. This is fantastic!!!

****3/4 out of 5


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