Having found ourselves more than caught up in the sound and adventure of King Hiss through their Snakeskin EP back in 2013, there is always a real leak of eager anticipation approaching every new encounter with the Belgium hailing rockers. So far it has been rewarded with a creatively roaring and rousing experiences especially with the band’s last album Mastosaurus but nowhere to the extent of lustfulness found for its successor, Earthquaker.
The band’s new album is a thunderous and explosive unleashing of a sound which has developed with the same hunger as we have found for its evolving exploits. To use our own words, Mastosaurus proved “exceptional and increasingly so with every listen” but is now simply left in the dramatic wake of Earthquaker.
King Hiss create a tempest of sound as infectious as it is invasive as they embrace the key essences of hard and stoner rock alongside the rich marrow of grunge and groove metal. Familiar and unique flavours continually entangle and flourish in the band’s increasingly distinct songwriting and music and fair to say over three full-lengths it has grown to be as irresistible and we suggest as essential as anything out there in the rock landscape.
Earthquaker is pure creative virulence from start to finish, even the introductory forty odd seconds of Critical Failure pure enticement as its intrigue flooded menace lined coaxing invades ears and imagination to draw the listener into the unscrupulous swing of the album’s title track. Grooves immediately infest and shape the song, Earthquaker infesting speakers and listener with relish before developing its darker and deeper web of textures and threat. The tones of vocalist Jan Coudron as ever enthral as they drip with drama and emotion whilst the melodic and voracious exploits of guitarist Joost Noyelle enthral as they invade. With rhythms pure manipulation, the track had album and us boisterously bouncing in no time.
Defiance urging incitement and spirit erupts in the following Revolt!, the track as feral as it is skilfully composed in its intent and craft. Whipping up a storm, drummer Jason Bernard drives the rebellion of song and word with glee whilst the bass of Dominiek Hoet is a snarling predator in the mix of temptation and riot, they together inciting the epidemic of untamed contagion unleashed. Even so, its virulence is eclipsed by that of Desertsurfer and with almost immediate effect. From the first second the track is an unapologetic weave of addictive hooks and grooves wrapped in melodic and harmonic temptation yet as all songs is wired with muscle and attitude bordering on the confrontational.
Through the Alice In Chains meets Twelve Boar predation that is Monolith and the dirt clad but melodically seductive GTWHR, the boldness and variety within Earthquaker is further accentuated. Unpredictability and evocative enterprise is as openly persuasive in both as across the whole release and further cemented within the grime laden, grooved rock ‘n’ roll joy of Kilmister and in turn Butcher and its gripping ruination. The track is as mesmeric as it is threatening, Coudron at the head of its haunting presence and instinctive blood lust with inescapable rhythms stalking and striking out within another compelling web of drama springing from Noyelle’s strings.
Drop Dead Leader may have not quite ignited the same lust as those before but with its southern tinged invention it still left imagination and pleasure united companions while Vomit had the former alone more than involved in its own adventurously fertile curiosity and craft; another major highlight added to the bulky amount already provided by Earthquaker.
The album is brought to an end through firstly Black Wolf, a track which weaves and swerves like a rattle snake before striking and unleashing its resourceful and venomous prowess, and lastly the sonic infection that is Sum of all Nightmares. Again grooves and hooks are as lethal and irresistible and the carnivorous riffs and barbarous rhythms escaping the band within both songs unbridled pleasure and rousing incitement.
In many ways it is no surprise that King Hiss had us over excited once again as they just get better and better but Earthquaker is a whole new ballgame for the band and their truly dextrous sound which no one should pass by without at least one concentrated listen.
Earthquaker is out now @ https://kinghiss.bandcamp.com/album/earthquaker
Pete RingMaster 19/11/2019
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