One of the best parts of the job of a music reviewer is stumbling across new, relatively unknown bands that deserve attention for what they’re doing. In what I hope is a good omen for the year, I’ve already encountered my first left-field surprise with Germany’s Nailed to Obscurity. As their name ironically suggests, these chaps have been toiling away without much recognition, but King Delusion may be about to change that for the better. Nailed play an interesting fusion of death/doom and post-metal, and as the album unfolded, the list of bands their style borrows from grew long and prestigious indeed. Their biggest influences are early Katatonia, November’s Doom, Tool and Rapture, but hints of Opeth, Paradise Lost and Ghost Brigade can be heard as well. With a veritable murderer’s row of influences like that, you’d expect something pretty impressive, and the band doesn’t disappoint, dropping almost an hour of bleak, morose doom/death with a true flair for dark moods and haunting melancholy. This is so good in fact, it puzzled me I hadn’t heard of these guys before, as this is their third album. I guess Steel Druhm‘s mighty Metal Detector isn’t omniscient after all, darn-it.

The opening title track immediately drags you into the dark little world the band inhabits, with jangled post-metal riffs creating an uneasy vibe that builds slowly, alternating ominous and melodious riffs that recall the best of Katatonia alongside elements of Behemoth, and when Raimund Ennega’s death roars crest the hill, things feel heavy and grim indeed. The way the riffs toy with the listener’s moods is quite ingenious and it’s apparent a lot of thought went into the writing.

The quality runs strong through tracks like the downcast “Protean,” which owes as much to Tool as it does to any doom/death act, and it’s hard to resist the dejected riffs and forlorn clean singing that surfaces for the first time here. It’s an oddly beautiful song, and I fell for it immediately. “Deadening” is equally emotive, with a goth rock sheen layered over depressive post-metal riffs and death metal vocals. “Memento” and “Devoid” remind me of the rock-infused Rapture material mixed with elements of Witherscape and both songs are winners that demand replay.

The album centerpiece is the massive, 12-minute “Uncage My Sanity” which has no business being as listenable and accessible as it is considering its overblown length. This is due to slick writing, a keen sense of mood and awareness when to change things up. There’s a plethora of interesting musical moments and the writing provides for peaks, valleys and a sharp dynamism between the somber and heavy moments reminiscent of November’s Doom at their unmerry best. Most tellingly, the song doesn’t feel anywhere close to its actual length. I’m especially enamored with the sad melodic segment at 6:30.

There isn’t a weak moment or track to call out over this 56-minutes slab o’ death/doom. Sure, there could’ve been some minor edits, and there are one or two awkward transitions that break the spell of the mostly well-crafted compositions. Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to nit-pick about and as long albums go, I find this shockingly easy to digest in a single sitting. I’ve been spinning it through and starting it over again for several days and it only gets stronger the longer I marinate in it.

King Delusion is a tribute to high-level writing, but it’s the guitar-work from Jan-Ole Lamberti and Volker Dieken that propels the material while making it so accessible. They have a real knack for triggering moods with their riff choices and whether they dabble in post-metal, post-rock or doom, their playing is very ear-catching. Ennega’s vocals are perfect for the music. He has a deep, heartfelt death roar that lends the music enough heaviness even when the guitars are trilling melodically. His clean singing is respectable too and used sparingly enough to pop when it appears. Though it’s rare I focus on drumming, I find myself very aware of what Jann Hillrichs does behind the kit. He has a real presence that doesn’t depend on blastbeats or double-bass rolls to grab attention. This is a talented ensemble and they play off each other extremely well. There’s a grace to the writing and performances that has that “it” factor and it pushes all my sad-boy music buttons.

My first high score and gushy review arrives way earlier in 2017 than I’d have liked, but so be it. King Delusion is the real deal and I can’t stop spinning it. If you want something to harsh your mellow as you await the new Pallbearer, this is your V.I.P. ticket to the grave parade. This deserves your time and attention, so adjust your schedules according.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Apostasy Records
Websites: nailedtoobscurity.bandcamp.comfacebook.com/nailedtoobscurity
Releases Worldwide: February 3rd, 2017

 

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  • AndySynn

    Well, this sounds like it’s right up my proverbial alley.

    Danke schön!

    • Yet another camel owed.

      • sir_c

        Camels are like women, they come in two humps at a time ?

      • AndySynn

        Wait, don’t YOU owe ME the camels?

        Surely, at best, this is one LESS camel owed?

        • André Snyde Lopes

          It seems that has happened one too many times.

  • gus rodrigues

    King! Fleshgod Apocalypse is the best!

    sorry, but i couldn’t help myself.

    great review btw! will definitely listen once I get home!

    • Dagoth_RAC

      Goat by Fleshking Calypso! Y U no ROTY!?

  • Grymm

    This is good. This is really, REALLY good.

    Quite impressed!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      You nailed it!

      • VikingSchism

        To obscurity?

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Yes!

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Apostasy Records is always reliable. You should check out their Opaque album, too, Steel.

    • I grabbed it and gave it a cursory spin. Need to dig into it deeper.

    • loudallas

      Good call on Apostasy Records. Thank you. And yes, this album KICKS ASS.

  • Anarchist

    Hm. This really read more like a 4.5 review.

  • Reese Burns

    Katatonia, Opeth, Rapture, Paradise Lost, Witherscape, Behemoth and Ghost Brigade. That’s quite an impressive array of influences to draw from. Count me in.

    • Diego Molero

      You didn’t mentioned Tool, don’t like them or simply forget to write it?

      • Reese Burns

        I’ve never actually been able to get into Tool.. I’ve had them recommended to me by a couple people, but there’s something undefinable that puts me off their music and I wish I could explain it. I really wanna like them, I’ve always felt I was missing out on something when I heard them.

        • Diego Molero

          I’m not the biggest fan either, but I do like a bunch of songs like Lateralus, Schism, Sober, The Pot, Vicarious, Jambi, Parabola, Right in Two. All great songs and worth a listen if you haven’t.
          I’m going on a mission and listen to all of the 4 albums, I haven’t done that not even once for some reason even though I like all of those songs.

          • Reese Burns

            I’ll check out those songs, I’ve always wanted to like em, and I’d definitely be happy to have my opinion changed.

          • Diego Molero

            Great, let me know what you think!

          • Reese Burns

            I checked em all out, still not all that into Tool, though some of their individual songs are actually really awesome, thanks!

          • DrewMusic

            Every Tool fan that hasn’t listened to their albums from front to back is doing themselves a grave disservice. Those guys are on their own level; I don’t even listen to them often at all, yet Lateralus has remained my favorite album for over a decade, and I find that I am almost solely able to enjoy its songs as a full album. Definitely try that out, the band is widely overrated in some ways and yet is still very much a force worth experiencing.

          • Diego Molero

            Will do man. Yesterday I listened to Undertow, today it will be Ænima!

          • DrewMusic

            Going for it in the proper order, eh? Excellent, you’re in for some audio gloriousness. Enjoy!

          • gus rodrigues

            Me neither, but I always end up buying their releases. Love their first album, though!

    • Wilhelm

      The song above sounds more like Behemoth covering November’s Doom, I don’t hear much Katatonia or Rapture in the song above.

    • gus rodrigues

      The name dropping was impressive! but so was the embedded song!

  • Eli Valcik

    This month started out with some shit but ended nicely.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Great flow to the sample song, just not into the “singing.”

  • Luke_22

    This sounds very good indeed.

  • SegaGenitals

    Think I need this in my life

  • The Unicorn
    • Brilliant!

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Are you not entertained?

  • Levly

    Wow, the Katatonia and Novembers Doom spirit is strong with the embedded track indeed. Count me in.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    If it wasn’t for the great Metal Detector that is AMG, I’d be stumbling around blindly like an old fool with a divining rod trying to track down all the great metal releases.

    • I feel the same way, while I still occasionally stumble upon new stuff, I’d say a good 80% of what I discover comes from this site. There was once a time where I would go to record stores and buy albums that LOOKED cool. That didn’t always turn out so good.

  • Pimpolho

    AW. YIS. Sounds freaking fantastic. Thank you.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I could swear I have seen this album cover before.

    • Finq

      reminds me of Black Crown Initiate somehow…

  • Michael Houck

    Embedded track sounds sorta similar to one of my favorite doom bands – The Prophecy

  • savafreak

    Hopefully it is better than the other Modern Melodic Doom Death album that you highly praised lately, Atoma !

  • Wilhelm

    Huge Katatonia/Rapture style doom fan here, I just don’t feel this great. I don’t really like his vocals or how fast and heavy it gets (usually I like more moody stuff of this style, not filled with blast beats and prog bits) The production is not bad but for the style, it needs less sheen and more atmosphere.

  • BlackSoots

    I’m intrigued! A band to check out. Nice review.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Looks like this is another one for the “list of albums that are not better than Kreator yet have been given a higher score”.

    • Zac Melvin-McNutt

      Agreed. I fail to see why this has so many people on here foaming at the mouth

  • WIRED_Metal

    *ears perk up* Excuse me, but did someone say bleak, morose doom/death? Yes, please…

    I will always check out anything described as ‘bleak, morose doom/death.’ The embedded track is promising…

  • alex

    What would be some good headphones to listen to this type of music? I am looking to spend at the most $300 to $400. I am looking for closed back headphones. What would be your guys’ recommendations?

    • Soge

      At this price point, closed backs aren’t really worth it any more. I’d suggest getting an open back, such as the Sennheiser HD 650, or the Hifiman HE 400S.

      If you really need a closed back, then maybe go for the Sennheiser Momentum (which is around 200$). They are my go-to phone for when walking around, and despite being far from perfect, have a really enjoyable sound.

    • Paul VH

      Shure SRH440’s are great too. I use them in my studio as well as for casual enjoyment. Only around $100!

  • Paul VH

    Maybe off topic…..but any news on a new Lake of Tears album? Figured this would be a good thread to ask in ?

    • We haven’t heard much about it or when it might be coming.

      • Paul VH

        6 years and counting since Ill Will. Interested as to the direction they will take on any follow up. Hopefully there will be one…..

  • TminusEight

    Late to this (it’s awesome)… Been fully occupied catching up on some gold from the year-end lists.

  • DrewMusic

    Holy fuck. I loved the embedded track upon initial review, patiently waited for the album to drop, and now I finally have something tearing me away from Departe and Hope Drone. Not that this sounds anything like those two. If Behemoth and the best parts of earlier Dark Tranquility had a baby and let it grow up listening to Katatonia and Ghost Brigade, this would be the end result. I’ve been looking for this sound done this way this perfectly for a while now, thanks AMG/ Steel for yet another excellent addition to the ole musical library.