Understandably, when you’re trying to form a classic doom metal band in Chile, you might have some trouble finding a singer. In the case of King Heavy, that meant enlisting Luther Veldmark, a native of Belgium. And while their debut album was recorded without him setting foot in the country, they flew Veldmark over to Santiago to work with the rest of the band in the same studio for their second full-length effort, Guardian Demons.
The virtual title track (it’s actually “Guardian Demon” in the singular) kicks things off with seven minutes of heavy, head-nodding riffage, mostly mid-paced, but with a few slow-mo breakdowns. Even if they were in the same room, the vocals really soar above the mix. The riff that kicks in around 2:45 is especially doomy, with a distinct Candlemass vibe. “(Death is But an Extreme Form of) Narcosis” slows things down to a gloomy crawl, though it’s no longer than its predecessor at a shade under seven minutes. They also do pick up the pace to a mid-tempo doomy stomp around the 3:15 mark. The vocal wails a la Robert Lowe blend more evenly into the mix with some heavy, pounding percussion in the background.
“Doom Shall Rise” is another seven-minute epic that’s perhaps more down tempo and downtrodden than its predecessors…as you might expect from a tune called “Doom Shall Rise.” The minimal opening verse, with just a lone backing guitar, again allows Veldmark’s vocals to really echo and soar, before the rest of the band kicks in with a slow, heavy dirge in the vein of Reverend Bizarre, also taking on a more mid-paced doom-metal stomp around the 3:30 mark leading into the chorus, which reappears a couple minutes later. The rising chorus would definitely elicit a few raised fists at any doom metal festival.
“Cult of the Cloven Hoof” paints along a similar true doom template, although this one’s only about five minutes. Don’t get me wrong, fans of Candlemass and Reverend Bizarre will likely enjoy this, but it does start to feel a little formulaic after 30 minutes or so—and there’s still a couple more songs to come.