"Burn the Serum"

(Razor & Tie)

01. Burn the Serum
02. Lost One
03. Electric Halo
04. Sewn Shut
05. Faraway
06. Self Medicated Man
07. The Ode
08. In the Land of Pigs
09. Sunday Smile
10. Big Ugly Me
11. Paper Heart Rose

RATING: 9/10

SoCal trio KYNG have the potential to emerge as one the next great things in heavy music. A lot of effort went into refining their sound from their lauded 2011 "Trampled Sun" album and "Burn the Serum" should have no problem garnishing the same accolades, if not more.

Along with RED FANG, KYNG is one of the most exciting bands on the American metal market today. Cramming the distortion worship of garage revivalists FU MANCHU, KYUSS, CLUTCH and THE SWORD with classic metal and hard rock, Eddie Veliz, Pepe Clarke and Tony Castaneda advance to the next level in their hasty evolution on "Burn the Serum". Turning to major league producer Andrew Alekel (FOO FIGHTERS, NO DOUBT, CLUTCH and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) and James A. Rota, II from FIREBALL MINISTRY, said professional firepower polishes "Burn the Serum" into one of 2014's early-year best albums.

The title cut may start off with a tempered roll, but expect the pace to grow more intense as KYNG heavies up the song in a jiff with thickening guitars from Eddie Veliz and whamming bass from Tony Castaneda. Before you can wipe the sweat off your brow, "Lost One" rolls out on a brisker tempo and turns up the heat courtesy of Pepe Clarke's forceful thuds and Eddie Veliz's majestic altos. Quickly coming into his own as a wholesome rock singer, Veliz's singing is outstanding all over the album and his reverberating guitar solo on "Lost One" signals an abbreviated space-out trip to match his escalating vocal pitches.

The massive riffs on the first single of the album, "Electric Halo", are subliminally SABBATH in delivery, but the trippy reverb on the bridge and the sweetened-up guitar notes Eddie Veliz delves overtop the driving melody are sublime. Thematically, the song is about two-faced backstabbers, which sets up the weighty drives of the emotional "Sewn Shut". A true-story song written for a friend of the band who suffered a literal sewn closure of the eyes following a disastrous accident, "Sewn Shut" is magnificent with every morose strum and clout, especially on its dazzling and guttural choruses. Though it's still early in the year, "Sewn Shut" should be nominated for Metal Performance of the Year, pick your forum.

The rest of "Burn the Serum" is nowhere near as beautifully haunted as "Sewn Shut", but it is loud yet sophisticated at every turn. If grunge had sounded like "Faraway" on more of a regular basis, it would've lasted longer than a few years. KYNG's mingling of dense metallic chugging and jive on "Self Medicated Man" is killer stuff, while "The Ode" keeps the burners fired up with its punchy tempos that are swept back into slow but sweltering choruses. Eddie Veliz again hits high notes of such splendor they nearly outshine his considerable guitar thrusts and Pepe Clarke's crushing snare rolls and cowbell clacks. "The Ode" transitions almost without pause to "In the Land of Pigs", which maintains the same hammering throb and sweeping riffs, only with an altered, though no less catchy melody.

Turning up the juice on "Big Ugly Me" with quasi-thrash lines and synthetic orchestration on the vast finale, KYNG shows tremendous versatility on an album that was already impressive enough through the first nine tracks. Stand by for the gorgeous closer "Paper Heart Rose" for further proof of KYNG's dynamism.

KYNG may believe in simplicity, but there's hardly anything simplistic to "Burn the Serum". As a trio, they leave no sound space unplugged and to revert to layman's terms, they kick serious ass.


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