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Album review: To Kill A King - The Spiritual Dark Age

By Leigh Sanders | Entertainment | Published:

London five-piece To Kill A King have a really intriguing approach to writing songs.

All of them can provide vocals, all are accomplished musicians. And lyrically they can throw some curve balls in their tales for our amusement.

The jagged approach to guitars and keys mixes strands from the likes of Modest Mouse, Beck and Eels, while frontman Ralph Pelleymounter has a wonderful voice akin at times to Tom Odell or The Slow Show's Rob Goodwin. He has written before with Rag'n'Bone Man and this shines through here, too.

The closer And Yet... captures the more emotional side to all of these artists, 'Who will I reach for when the dark comes in?' asks Pelleymounter over the top of pained keys and strings that add more than just a flicker of emotion.

But it's not all heartstrings and sadness. There is some jerking guitar rock fun to be had.

The Unspeakable Crimes Of Peter Popoff is a bopping walk through riffs designed to make even the most gloomy listeners move with the music. The chorus is great fun, guitars screeching like sirens behind the lyrics.

There is the title track too, whose rushed percussion gives the track a feeling of hurrying and perhaps more than a hint of hidden impending doom beneath the seemingly upbeat chords.

“The Spiritual Dark Age is the last three years of my life painstakingly distilled into 40 minutes of music,” says Pelleymounter. “It has ballads for my single friends watching everyone else gradually pair off, and deities and fables getting drunk in bars. It has moments of anger and disgust at characters like Peter Popoff and their parasitic feeding of the most vulnerable people, and it has folk songs about two gods who’d rather burn down the world than admit they still love each other.”

This gives an insight into the lyrical thinking of this band, now it's time to tune in and hear the entertainment value of the backing music.

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Compassion is A German Word for example, the staccato chorus will prove a live favourite for when they come to party with the new material.

Rating: 7/10

To Kill A King play at Birmingham's Mama Roux's on Saturday

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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