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Blood Of Kingu - "Sun in the House of the Scorpion" (CD)

Blood Of Kingu - "Sun in the House of the Scorpion" CD cover image

"Sun in the House of the Scorpion" track listing:

1. Herald of the Aeon of Darkness (0:55)
2. Those That Wander Amidst the Stars (4:20)
3. Cyclopean Temples of the Old Ones (4:25 )
4. Incantation of He Who Sleeps (10:24)
5. Guardians of Gateways to Outer Void (5:47)
6. Ceremonies to Awake Thy Ageless Hate (3:57)
7. Morbid Black Dreams Bringing Madness (2:05)
8. The Gate of Nanna (Beherit cover) (4:23)

Reviewed by on October 2, 2010

"It all comes out sounding somewhat as though the members of Nile and Melechesh decided to do a side project together."

On “Sun in the House of the Scorpion,” Ukrainian extreme metal band Blood of Kingu, which was founded in 2005 and features members of Drudkh, Dark Ages, and Hate Forest, offers a mix of sounds and themes that even the word eclectic seems to fall short of describing. The band’s second album combines lyrical passages drawing from Sumerian, Egyptian, Tibetan, and Indo-Aryan influences with elements of Middle Eastern and European folk instrumentation, traditional Tibetan Buddhist chants and instruments, eastern European black metal riffs, and full-throated death metal vocals.

Despite the act’s wide palette of influences, Blood of Kingu manages to take a seemingly unworkable and far flung range of styles and bring them together in a way that makes the overall sound cohesive—a feat that must have been nothing less than a mammoth undertaking. It all comes out sounding somewhat as though the members of Nile and Melechesh decided to do a side project together.

The album, which clocks in at just over 36 minutes, including an intro track and an instrumental interlude, is built around the fourth track, the ten-minute-plus death and black metal dirge, “Incantation of He Who Sleeps,” which is a prime showcase of Blood of Kingu’s broad, amalgamating artistic ambition. The rolling intro, with what seems like Tibetan long horns in the background, definitely takes its time in leading the song to its first plodding verse, but that’s the whole point of the song—like the awakening of some terrible mythological beast. You don’t jolt the creature awake; you draw out its unspeakable essence with this befitting musical encapsulation of its dark nature. From there, it’s on to unrelenting blast territory and sweeping black metal riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dissection or Marduk album before the track returns to its origins to close on an appropriately dramatic note, complete with tribal sounding beats played on some sort of hand drum. These drums are found in different passages throughout the album, giving these already dense songs yet another layer of instrumentation.

At times the album seems a bit blast heavy, as if the band is riding the same beat on a wave that is looking for a place to break but never finds it. But you can’t fault them for choosing an obvious direction—all out fury—and committing to it tenfold. Better to commit from the outset than to waver and tip toe around the band’s varying influences and leave the listener confused and wondering what the band is all about.

With that being said, at times it can seem as if the band is sticking too close to a regimented formula. On tracks like “Ceremonies to Take Away Thy Ageless Hate” and “Cyclopean Temples of the Old Ones,” punishing as they are, it feels as if the same blast beat was recorded once and dropped into both songs, a feeling that repeats itself several times throughout the disc’s duration. The underlying Buddhist chants during the blasts on the latter, however, sound so natural and uncharacteristically evil in the setting Blood of Kingu put them in that it makes you wonder why this hasn’t been attempted before. These chants make regular appearances throughout the album, and add some much needed depth to the metal reservoir.

As the eighth track is a cover of Beherit’s “The Gate of Nanna,” listeners are only given five full Blood of Kingu originals on this release, which seems to fall a bit short of what a full length album should offer. Nevertheless, “Sun in the House of the Scorpion” is impressive merely in its attempt to bring so many different elements together, and even more so for the fact that it largely succeeds in doing so.

Highs: Blood of Kingu bring a lot of depth to the table, weaving together various elements of differing styles of music.

Lows: From a compositional standpoint, the songs can seem repetitive from time to time.

Bottom line: Despite its somewhat repetitive nature, this is a compelling and intriguing release from a band that isn't afraid to take chances.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)