KINGDOM OF SORROW
"Behind the Blackest Tears"

(Relapse)

01. Enlightened to Extinction
02. God's Law In the Devil's Land
03. Monuments of Ash
04. Behind the Blackest Tears
05. Envision the Divide
06. From Heroes to Dust
07. Along the Path to Ruin
08. With Barely a Breath
09. The Death We Owe
10. Sleeping Beast
11. Torchlight Procession
12. Salvation Denied

RATING: 7/10

What did you think it was gonna sound like? A collaboration between hardcore mogul Jamey Jasta and last living Ent Kirk Windstein? A HATEBREED and CROWBAR mashup? Yeah, pretty much. It's a bit more CROWBAR riffing and soulful Nola doom-rock than it is hardcore, although they do kick up the tempos and raise hell in a few places. For the most part, though, as has been pointed out elsewhere, it sounds like Windstein wrote a record and then Jasta came down and laid some guest vocals on it.

Even if that was 100% the case, though (and I'm sure it's not), would that be a bad thing? For some reason, even as burnouts nationwide continue to cream their ripped jeans over DOWN, CROWBAR's profile seems lower and lower as the years roll by. Getting a generation of HATEBREEED fans to check out CROWBAR's discography, especially their slept-on newer records, would be a noble goal all by itself. And who knows? Not that Jasta's a kid any more, but his comparatively youthful energy and undeniable work ethic and enthusiasm probably gave Old Man Windstein as much juice as their songwriting collaboration did, and got him to turn in a batch of sludgy, but uptempo and hungry, tunes for the two to duet over.

And the end result is... well... solid. It's not amazing, or earth-shattering, and it doesn't trump either man's main band. It's a weighty, heavy, likable bunch of tunes with a few bad-ass parts, a couple memorable choruses... again, it's solid. I know that doesn't sound like a dazzling endorsement — it's one of those cases where if it was anyone else, it'd be a revelation from out of nowhere. The first reaction, though, given the pedigrees involved, is that KINGDOM OF SORROW might be a little underwhelming. A lot of it seems like textbook CROWBAR riffs recycled or lightly modified to get from point A to point B, the kind of songs that Windstein can probably write in his sleep, but not on par with either man's best work.

But give it some listens, let it settle in, and you'll come to enjoy it exactly for what it is. It's a side project — a mutual appreciation society between two iconic musicians, neither of which is gonna quit his day job over it. But the tunes are good, the vibe is tough, the low-end Nola throb and the hardcore rant shine through, and at the end of the day, it's a satisfying record.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.