Recorded, produced and mastered by producer Evan Sammons. Released on 20 May 2022
For fans of Killswitch Engage, The Ghost Inside, I Killed The Prom Queen
Ah! Now, here’s a metalcore band I can get behind. Maine’s In the Kingdom of Nightmares is a traditional metalcore band with a twist. They sound heavy, fast and groove-based. Formed in 2008, they disbanded in 2011, reforming in 2019. Recent reviews have compared them to Killswitch Engage, The Agony Scene, Unearth, and The Ghost Inside.
“Relentless” (track 1) is a song with its roots firmly in traditional heavy metal. After the opening riff it veres into a fairly typical post-punk melodic metalcore-sounding verse before the reaching for gruff vocals. But unlike many metalcore bands whose throaty vocals are little more than uncontrolled half-shouts, there is depth and substance to these cookie monster barks. The result is an intense, focused slab of modern metal. Good start!
“Unbeliever” (track 2) picks up where the previous track finished, with another firey riff resplendent with pinched harmonics. The song sways between accessibly melodic and card-carrying metal chug with a nicely surprising chorus where the two collide. The outro is full-on death metal growls.
The drums that introduce “Haunted” (track 3) almost stray into a Galactic Cowboys-style gallop before taking a surprise left and the song tunnels beneath the earth into a twisting, dark riff with the fiercest gnashing vocals yet. The outro guitar solo is nicely ‘acidic’—perfect for the song.
If I didn’t know different, I would have thought that “King of the rats” (track 4) was a Gorefest song. I swear this EP is getting heavier song by song. This track clatters along at a pleasing place, pounding drums and sharp vocals. This is probably my favourite track of the release.
Rounding out the EP, “3 evils” (track 5) returns to more familar metalcore territory with its jaunty melodies and cheerfully morose vocals. Gruff vocals are back though for a clean/barked duet. It’s a bit of a strange return to this style after the three middle tracks have explored a darker, more death metal sound.
I wonder if this is one of those releases that to my ear at least could do with a bit of a track reshuffle. If you move “3 Evils” from track 5 to track 2 and bump everything up by one there is a gradual move from a more metalcore sound to death metal, the EP gets increasingly heavier and doesn’t have that unexpected return to a more melodic, jangly sound right at the end. End on the heaviest, leave the best ’til last!
I like this release. I really like it. Brilliant vocals, focused songwriting, heavy as… With a track listing reshuffle this could be almost perfect.
Review score: 90%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to review In the Kingdom of Nightmares’ recent album, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either MDPR or In the Kingdom of Nightmares. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to In the Kingdom of Nightmares for continuing to create fresh, exciting metalcore.