When the forces of doom metal, post metal and sludge converge and collide at just the right time, it’s the equivalent of the earths tectonic plates moving and shifting, gouging chasms through one another and shattering the earth’s crust, leaving scars that will take an eternity to heal. Ireland’s very own Raum kingdom have that tectonic power in spades. The intensity and weight of their sound crushes and smothers without remorse, as we found out back in 2018 with the release of Everything and Nothing. They showcased their ruthless and malevolent side with a slab of post-driven doom metal that still rumbles deep beneath the earth’s surface, provoking hairline cracks that still splinter and grow beneath our feet.
Well, it maybe a new year, and as a race we may well be caught up in a battle to save the earth from dying long before its time, but with the release of Raum Kingdoms latest album, a lot of the work may well be in vein. Monarch is soon to be unleashed and take my word for it, it’s an absolute beast of an album. The stars and the planets have aligned, and the sheer ferocity and magnitude of this album will cause the earth to rumble once more, summoning great earthquakes and tsunamis of sorrow and sludge. These six tracks see Raum Kingdom carry on from where they left off, but with a more diverse and multifaceted approach.
Red Admiral wastes no time in rising from the earth, crushing us with violent riffs along with the menacing vocals of Dave Lee, which immediately invoke an air of despair and angst. However, some clean spoken words and melody-soaked vocals lament and cry under an acoustic interlude, getting lost in the ether, before being drawn back down to the gutter with more demonic meanderings and some soul crushing riffs courtesy of Andrew Colohan. An opening track that conjures up all the venom and might of dark, dirty, sludge-heavy metal.
The haunting and hard-hitting Hairstreak is a track the epitomizes the diversity I mentioned earlier. Beginning with a piano soaked intro, it falls heavy with horror and menace under those eerie and atmospheric vocals, before becoming consumed by the more punishing riffs and Mark Gilchrist’s harrowing drum patterns. Swallowtail adorns us with more clean singing which brings another layer of melody and softness to the usually bleak and harsh environment that Raum Kingdom often imprison you in. It’s refreshing and a little unexpected to hear so much of it in one track, but it works, such is its chant like charm and delivery. But this ability to sing was always lying beneath the fog when you think back to the vocal acrobatics that haunted the opening track Summon, from Everything And nothing.
From Comma’s acoustic guitar opening to the sonically distorted bass lines of Niall Gregory, this is another piledriver of a track. A behemoth in its own right, but with a celestial undercurrent that keeps it edgy and absorbing. Gate Keeper, on the other hand is a straight up battering ram of a track. Wicked rhythm guitars with swirling lead guitars interwoven through skyward vocals make it a juggernaut that keeps on growing and expanding right to the death.
Pieris closes the album with all the nuances and shadings that littered the album right from the start. Complex but very well rounded, it shapeshifts and transforms into many different beasts, bringing closure on an album that sees Raum Kingdom take another giant leap into the upper echelons of the sludge-drenched, post metal scene. Monarch is indeed just that, however, Raum Kingdom, well they stand tall as chieftains.