Ninth Kingdom - _The Dawning_
by: Jeremy Ulrey (4.5 out of 5)
With recording equipment becoming cheaper and cheaper, one would imagine a greater volume of quality releases coming from out of the self-released underground. Better -sounding- releases, yes, but it's none less rare these days to stumble across a ready-for-prime time band on the back of a demo than it was back in the tape trading days. Ninth Kingdom, however, is one of those bands.

Not much is proffered by way of info on this band, aside from the fact that they're from Houston and were signed to Killzone Records over the past summer. Hopefully they're mired down in the studio working on that full-length, because all four of the tracks on _The Dawning_ are hell bent for posterity. Only the middle two tracks are subtitled "Ch. 2" & "Ch. 3", but presumably the whole thing's meant to be a suite, even if they stand up better as individual songs (i.e. there are no superfluous intros or instrumental wank fests to pad out the running time, something that is all too prevalent on the demo circuit). So we have nearly eighteen minutes of pedal to the floor black metal with pronounced death flourishes. The vocals -- typically the weak point with younger bands -- are probably the most impressive thing about this band, well produced and hate-inflected in every ounce of their raspy sincerity. One to keep on the ol' radar.


(article published 14/1/2008)

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