Review by Vladimir on July 21, 2023.
Holy hell does this year 2023 feel like one busy year, because new bands and new releases just keep popping up out of nowhere. One of these bands that suddenly appeared is an anonymous black/death metal band Death Of A King, which released their debut full-length album Antimatter on July 11th. Let’s see what this new beast has to offer, shall we?
The music on this album is straightforward modern black metal with the usual tremolo picking guitar riffs and drums that switch between blast beats, double-bass drumming and even thrash metal drumming like on 'Meeting In Place With No Time', while the vocals are leaning towards a very harsh guttural death metal style. The songs are stylistically consistent from start to finish, yet there are still dynamic moments with tempo changes where the guitars sometimes switch from the tremolo picking to open string riffs. One song in particular stands out, and that is the third track 'Mars Is Calling War!' which has some marching section with very exhausted breathing in the background which is very war-like in style, where the riffs and drums feel like absolute cannon fire. There is also one weird bit on the sixth track 'Faster Than The Speed Of Light' during the song’s slow mid-section, where you hear some strange sound effects in the background like some muffled screaming, which is later replaced by a similar sounding monstrous scream. Both of these felt like really strange inclusions, but at the same time they also felt quite mysterious and had me wondering what it is supposed to mean. Among other additional instruments, there’s the inclusion of trumpets on the seventh track 'All Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others', which are played during the song’s chorus. There are only two instrumentals on this album, that being the fourth track 'Intergalactic' which is an interlude between songs, and the outro track 'Destination Unknown' as a solid closure to this album. The album’s overall style can be somewhat summarized as destructive and misanthropic in nature, even though the main theme is Antimatter, which would obviously lead you to believe that you would get more something along that style. Before I get into my personal opinion about this album, there are a few things I’d like to mention. First is the album’s cover art, which visually looks very interesting, I simply can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that it stylistically looks like an AI generated image, especially since every detail on the cover is pure 3D. The second thing which I think a lot of people have already said about the band and this album, is that it obviously resembles the Croatian band Prognan in every possible way. A lot of people compared this to Prognan’s full-length album "Naši životi Više Ne Postoje", especially because the vocals on this album sound a lot like Kob’s vocals, even the album’s production all the way to the guitar tone and drum sound is so similar. If that wasn’t enough, another obvious detail that deserves a mention are the lyrics in Croatian on the first track 'Nihil', which led everyone including myself to believe that this is obviously Kob’s side-project. Whether that is the case or not, I think that people should still look at Death Of A King as its own thing rather than constantly draw comparisons between this band and Prognan. As for the album itself, there are moments when it really feels strong and powerful, but there are often moments where I am just not able to fully immerse myself in its musical output. The songwriting is too straightforward by following one template, because the songs can at times feel artificial or sterile, and don’t quite manage to stand out, aside from some bits which I’ve already mentioned.
Overall, Antimatter is a very solid album which I think can be appreciated for its simplicity and acceptable strength of quality, despite it being lacking in some ways. I think that this album could have been a bit better if it had more expression and character, because I think that this band definitely has some potential to shine. Whether this is Prognan 2.0 or just another Croatian black metal outfit, I think that people should check it out and judge it for themselves.
Rating: 7.4 out of 10345