Review Summary: The album to restore your faith in modern metalcore.
In the world of metal, aside from the clusterf*ck of sub-groups, there are two main categories under which a typical metal band would fall. Either the 1st group (big, dumb and loud, e.g. Emmure and co.) and then there’s the 2nd group (epic, melodic and intricate, e.g. Protest the Hero, Meshuggah and Periphery). From a brief glance, this can be relatable to the middle school status quo; the popular kids and the non-popular kids. I use this analogy because every once in a while, there comes a kid who falls in between both categories, the semi-popular kid. We all know someone like this. It could be a try-hard, the kid who gets by with his/her looks or the nice guy who’s ugly as sh*t. Knights of the Abyss are one of the semi-popular kids in the middle school of metal.
Fresh after leaving the position of drummer in Job For A Cowboy, Andy Rysdam sought to form another band, and thus KOTA was born. The original lineup had recorded two albums together, whilst gradually losing most members. In 2009, they had new members entirely save for guitarist Nick Florence. The child of this lineup was released in 2010 and entitled The Culling of Wolves
The album opens with The House of Crimson Coin
a relatively fast sweeping riff leads to a gruff shout and the ride begins. On this track alone, KOTA shows their potential. They tend to do things their own way and not follow the typical metalcore/deathcore song structure, which is a huge bonus for the album. However, this does not mean the album is void of breakdowns, far from it. To be honest though, most
of them are quite well-done and placed great. An example of which would be the breakdown around the 2 minute mark in Den of the Deceived
The downsides of the album are quite a few, but they bring down the album by more than you would think. The bass is virtually inaudible in some parts, but when you can hear it, it’s nothing worth mentioning. Vocalist Harley Magnum’s range is quite small. The screams vary from middle-range, to slightly high (eg. All That Remains) and have the tendency to bore at times. The songs are also not really distinguishable, as unless you can recognize the riffs, it is very difficult to tell them apart.
This leads me onto the upsides of The Culling of Wolves
. The riffs scattered throughout the album are astonishing. For example, Pandemic
and Slave Nation
. If you’re a metalhead, and you hear the opening riff to Dead to Reform
you can’t honestly tell me you’re not interested. Both guitarists show great ability throughout the album and are one of the main reasons to even listen to this album. Sweeping, harmonies and more await you here. The drumming is also top-notch. Frantic and furious double bass assault your ears, and provides you with some fantastic fills, if a little monotonous at times.
If you’re into metalcore at all, and are looking for a redemption album due to all the sh*t lately, definitely check this out. It’s in no way a masterpiece, but it’s miles ahead of most modern metal.
Council of Wolves
Dead to Reform