In recent years, Indianapolis, Indiana has earned a bit of a reputation as a Midwest doom-metal hub, due to quality outfits like Devil to Pay, Apostle of Solitude and the late, great Gates of Slumber. Void King also hails from Indy, and while I wasn’t too familiar with them beforehand (this is their first album), I was willing to give this a listen strictly based on where they’re from. Cuz when it comes to heartfelt, melancholic trad doom, it helps to have the Indy stamp of approval.
With that said, the turgid dirge of opening track “Skull Junkie” is equal parts DTP and AoS. The guitar lead comes in clean over a gritty rhythm track, with some deeper vocals soaring in the upper register. And the killer riff that kicks in with the chorus simply screams Karl Simon (of TGOS fame). I take it these guys have probably opened for all the aforementioned artists…
“Raise the Flags on Fire” has a great epic doom riff that falls somewhere between Candlemass and Warning. The band then settles into a solid, mid-paced chug, chucking in a couple heavy breakdowns for good measure. “Brandy Knew” picks things up somewhat to a mid-paced sludgy stomp, injecting a few stoner grooves into the mix. “Canyon Hammer” sounds like something from the slower side of High on Fire, albeit with a bit less grit in the vocal department. The seven-minute “Healing Crisis” is probably the pinnacle of this album—a fine slice of emotive epic doom in the AoS tradition that explodes into one helluva headbanging chorus!
Man, for this style of metal, Indianapolis delivers the goods just like Bay Area thrash, NOLA sludge or Chicago experimental post-metal. (There is some seriously trippy shit coming outta Chi-Town, dude!) Void King’s debut is a solid continuation of the local tradition; I’d expect a few underground festival appearances and a reputable record deal to follow.