Green King – Hidden Beyond Time Review

With pickings slim to threadbare in the nearly drained promo sump, Yours Steely skulked through the muck, kicking aside one-man basement black metal projects, re-releases from 2020, and several of Holdeneye‘s lost retainers1 looking for something worthy of attention. Eventually, I scraped up a debut by unknown Finnish traditional metallers, Green King to be my (likely) final review of 2022. Originally formed as a stoner rock outfit, Green King came to be much more a traditional heavy metal vehicle, borrowing a great deal from the earliest days of the NWoBHM. The material here mostly sounds like something that could have come out between 1980 and 1985, with Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, and Diamond Head being big reference points. To this well-worn approach, they fuse slight folk elements, which causes some of the songs to drift into Slough Feg territory. Sound in principle, but can Hidden Beyond Time deliver the roasty, toasty old-timey metal goods in time for a happy yuletide season?

If you were to base your opinion solely on opening track “Gates of Annihilation,” then absolutely! This is an entertaining dose of trad metal loaded down with classic aesthetics and nostalgia-inducing dual guitar harmonies that reek of the 80s. There’s even a slight touch of Witchfinder General’s rocking doom crammed in along the way. The guitar work is tasty and though the vocals are rough, they lend the song a kind of rowdy charm. Give me an album’s worth of this stuff and I’m a happy ape. Unfortunately, the track quality wanders around the block a bit. “Steel on Ice” (badass title) packs enough retro charm in its riffage to overcome some minor flaws, whereas “Tervakiituri” is just too rough, awkward, and raw to leave a good impression.

Then there are the songs with cool ideas and engaging moments that don’t quite come together fully, like “Godkiller.” It has its share of big riffs and harmonies, but it just can’t overcome some rough spots and an overly simplistic approach. I give points for effort to the nearly 9-minute closer “Lifetakers” for working as well as it does thanks to inspired riffcraft. That said, it’s about 3 minutes too long. Then there are the 2 interludes that add basically nothing to the album beyond padding it out to 33 minutes, thereby making a credible claim that it’s an LP. Not much meat on these bones though, I’m sad to say.

Lauri Lyytinen and Eliel Salomaa have good to very good ideas for riffs/harmonies and at their best, they do tap into the magic of the NWoBHM glory days. At several points along the way an inspired lead would get me excited and wanting to relieve my teenage delinquent years, but the overall songwriting sometimes undermines these good moments. Eliel handles vocals as well and his delivery is very rough and unpolished. At times this makes the music sound as if Snake from early days Voivod is screaming over a Diamond Head track. This only works sometimes and his one-note shout/singing becomes tedious quickly on songs that can be overly repetitious and bloated.

There’s potential here and the guitar work alone is almost enough to merit a cautious perusal, but Green King is still clearly in their formative stage and in need of refinement and polishing. Hidden Beyond Time offers a few cuts worthy of playlist poaching, but I shan’t be returning for any further extended spins. I will however check out whatever comes next from Green King, which means they did something right. What the…?! I think I have a goddamn retainer stuck to my boot! HOLDENEYE!!

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: The Sign Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: December 16th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. The human mouth is a disgusting open cesspool of filth, so leaving these atrocities laying around violates like 50 OSHA regs.
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