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Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Kings Winter – Edge of Existence

Label: Æons of Torn Recordings

Date: May 1st, 2021

Quite an interesting project that comes out of Germany. Actually, just by looking at the country where Kings Winter originated from, the genre performed on “Edge of Existence” is logical. Traditional heavy metal by this duo may be influenced inside as well as outside of their homeland, but that unmistakable vocal style is absolutely German. But more on that later on.

Where I want to start this review are the lyrics. The whole theme of the record, in fact. The lyrics were not included in the promotional package, but it is fairly easy to hear what Jule and Tobias Dahs have to say. The entire album raises questions about the state of society today. Ecological, political and sociological issues are what’s bothering the Dahs’. As it should bother all of us, but that hardly seems to be the case.

So, when the “louder” voices of metal seem to avoid these unsettling topics, Kings Winter faces them head on. And it’s not just that Jule just shouts out the obvious. As far as I could gather, the lyrics behind “Edge of Existence” are neatly thought through. I could be wrong, but it sounds to my ears that there is some real poetic talent behind the song titles.

From the almost destroyed ecosystem of our unlucky planet to the racial issues coming out of USA in the past year or so, but a global issue nonetheless. Media indoctrination, misuse of power, failing state of society… You name it, Kings Winter are well-aware of it and are shoving it down your throat.

By the way, the opening introduction with a quote from “Jurassic park” is such an unusual but perfect fit for “Edge of Existence”.

But none of it would be possible without the musical background. And a very convincing one at that. As mentioned above, we are talking about the classical heavy metal. The band themselves dubs it melodic heavy metal which might be true to an extent. However, with the keyboards placed in somewhat of a background and the hard riffing being the leader of the pack, melodic part of the duo’s creation is far from the forefront.

Still, the genre particularities are less important here. As the riffing takes the leading role, one must say they are catchy enough. As they must be with such a genre. I would say they are somewhere between the old German style of legendary Grave Digger and the US troops of Iced Earth. Similar with the drums which lean more towards the domestic stylistics, but retain an overseas feel.

The vocal style I introduced above as a solely German is that of the queen herself. Doro Pesch, of course. It’s not just the accent, it’s the color of Jule’s voice as well. Except for the moments when she goes for the growls. But then again, when she does, it sounds similar to Angela Gossow, so it fits well.

Perhaps she could have been a bit more expressive and let her throat go a bit more. Especially with topics like the ones covered on the album, but it is still fine. If she plugs into the source of rage towards the issues at hand for the future recordings, she might just become the next princess in line for the throne.

In any case, Kings Winter may not yet be in the premiership of heavy metal, but strong contenders they remain. With “Edge of Existence” being what it is, the duo shows what they’re capable of. A name to follow, for sure.