Battalions Coronate the “King of a Dead World” With A Fanfare of Groovy Sludge (Early Album Stream)
Earlier this week, when I wrote about King of a Dead World for our Upcoming Metal Releases column, I noted that the album had been tagged 'big riffs' on Bandcamp. Now, I still find that tag hilarious, but the more I've listened to King of a Dead World in the meantime, the more I'm convinced that it is, truly, the best possible descriptor for this record. Battalions, hailing from the United Kingdom, offer a form of sludge that is so single-mindedly focused on riffs that it almost defies belief. These enormous, catchy riffs sit at the center of their new album's sound, driving it forward with a wall of ear-satiating fuzz set into a righteous, irresistible groove. While the United Kingdom is home to all kinds of incredible sludge bands right now, none of Battalions' peers are serving up this many riffs as intensely as is found here.
From the first notes of "Green Boots" all the way through the record, that groove digs its steel-tipped claws in and stays put. The guitars on King of a Dead World are loud, enveloping the rest of the mix and cramming into every nook and cranny as they etch each hook into listener's brains. The band's sludge draws heavily from the United States' Southern sludge and stoner rock sounds, displaying a knack for bluesy syncopation just as much as pure rock and heavy metal–the unifying factor being the band's combination of enthusiasm and vitriol that fuels all this. It leads to a constant sense of discovery and growth: multiple times throughout listening, I found myself astonished at how the band had managed to one-up themselves partway through a song with a new, even cooler riff. That's an experience I'll gladly pass on to our readers: get into King of a Dead World now with our early stream, plus learn more about the album below from vocalist Phil Wilkinson.
King of a Dead World is our call to action. The world is being plundered, governments are running rampant over environmental rights, personal freedoms are being eroded. We ask, with all of this lack of real leadership, who really wants to be King of a Dead World?
This album is borne out of us striving to get back to our roots of when we started this band nearly 13 years ago; huge riffs, gnarly vocals and heavy attitude. We recently welcomed our new drummer Simon Harrison, and with him proceeded to write the album we have for you today. Along with a new drummer, we decided to go with a new studio/producer and also a new album artist. We headed to Nø Studio in Manchester with a plan in mind, a big production but still retaining that dirty, sludgy, hardcore edge that we wanted to go back to. Once this was completed, we worked with James Fenwick, a local illustrator, to come up with the incredible artwork for the album.
Lyrically, this album is full of misanthropy, rebellion, personal struggle and overcoming adversity. "Green Boots" starts the album with an ode to the dead body marker left on Everest, from there we go straight into "Coughing Nails"; an bile encrusted fuck you to blind authority. "Diagnosis Fucked" is about my personal health struggles, but always trying to find a positive outcome. "Bones to Dust" ponders the meaning of being depressed, agonising over whether things will ever get better. "No Safe Place" deals with sycophants and their loyalty to no one. "Parasite" is our traditional song about a movie, every album has one, we won't tell you which movie this is about, that's for you to work out. "Light a Fire" asks us all to stand tall against oppressive government policies. Finally, we have album closer "King of a Dead World", a re-working of one of the first songs we ever wrote, and a perfect closer for us in our aim to go back to our roots of 13 years ago.
KOADW is an album very close to our hearts, and to quote the old cliche, some of our best work so far! We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did making it.
Upcoming Shows (UK):
October 28th - O'Rileys, Hull (album launch)
November 11th - Dive, Hull w/Row of Ashes
November 12th - Packhorse, Leeds w/Row of Ashes
King of a Dead World releases Friday on APF Records.