Kingdom Of Giants – ‘Passenger’

By Dave Stewart

Californian metal outfit Kingdom Of Giants have returned to our ears to bring us their brand new record, ‘Passenger’. After years of hard graft and seemingly continuous touring with bands like Born Of Osiris and Fit For A King, they’ve amassed a legion of loyal followers – yet remain under the radar for a lot of metalcore fans. After signing to the wonderful SharpTone Records, who are releasing this record, a lot of those radars are going to start uncontrollably bleeping. This record is worthy of your attention.

Album opener ‘Two Suns’ does a perfect job of setting the tone. Gloriously low crystalline guitars blanket your senses as atmospheric synths flutter beneath them, with the dual vocal attack of front man Dana Willax and bassist Jonny Reeves working in tandem to both create and relieve pressure. ‘Night Shift’ follows a similar blueprint, armed with huge djenty rhythms, a stunning chorus that sinks right into your brain, and an overpowering breakdown that will melt it. This is just the two openers – there’s plenty more where that came from.

Guitarists Max Bremer and Red Martin channel their inner Architects for the main riff of ‘Burner’, a thunderous technical wrecking ball generously decorated with soaring melodies and tasteful placements of some gloomy droning tones. ‘Bleach’ is a low and slow number focused on groove and dynamics, constantly playing around with the textures to alter the impact until Willax bellows the words “fill my lungs, drown in bleach” to create a tidal wave of power. ‘Side Effect’ takes a few tricks from Northlane’s book, decorating sinister electronics with big riffs and pounding drums, stripping everything back and suddenly bringing it all back in a surge of unfiltered and alluring aggression.

‘Sync’ is primed to become one of their biggest anthems, masterfully treading the fine line between captivating and crushing without even the slightest hint of instability. The bold and futuristic vibes of ‘Wayfinder’ provide a tantalising change of pace, brushing their canvas with an array of colours that develop and merge with one another through its duration. The whole record is spilling over with melodically charged metal of the absolute highest calibre, but if that isn’t enough to sway you there’s a couple of tasty guest spots on this record that might seal the deal.

The first comes from Volumes vocalist Michael Barr on ‘Blue Dream’, a groove-laden texture-fest switching between electronic pop vibes and unadulterated heaviness with no warning. Barr’s mid-range growl erupts into the track as it’s approaching the conclusion, working in unison with Willax to darken the shadows surrounding it. The second comes from Spiritbox wonder woman Courtney LaPlante who lends her devilish vocals to ‘The Ride’, seeing the record out on an ominous and dream-like high note. Her voice is instantly recognisable, summoning goosebumps all over your body as the music shifts from pensive to infernal on a rollercoaster ride of a finale.

This is a must-listen for fans of modern metalcore, a hefty chunk of precious gold that will have your stomach full of butterflies and retinas starry eyed. It’s a seamless blend of metallic vigour with subtle pop undertones, creating a collection of heavy hitting belters that all leave a lasting impression. Everything that you already love about Kingdom Of Giants is on display here, bigger and better than it’s ever been. Powerful lyrics, punishing breakdowns, infectious grooves and soaring melodies all unite to form the most polished and staggering album of their career – one that will undoubtedly kick down doors and reveal an abundance of paths for them to travel down.

Kingdom Of Giants aren’t passengers anymore – they’re in the drivers seat with their hands firmly on the wheel, fully in control of exactly where they’re headed. ‘Passenger’ has the potential to finally refocus the genre’s spotlight onto them, and harbours enough power to make sure they stay brightly lit for a long time – not just a moment. They might be considered one of the genre’s best kept secrets, but the secret is going to be out very soon. Tell your friends.

DAVE STEWART

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