Released independently on Friday 24 February 2023.
For fans of Kreator, Metallica, Megadeth, The Haunted, Sylosis
How appropriate that I should be reviewing King Abyss’s new album on the coronation bank holiday weekend here in the UK. As I’m just kicking back and relaxing a little. for this review I’m relying on the official press release that accompanied the digital audio files to carry this review. Here goes…
In times of desperation they are always there; the liars, the deceivers, the thieves grasping for your last penny, your last mouthful of food, your last treasure wrapped in the tattered paper of memories. When the tides of despair rise so high they drown everything you know to be true, they will step from the shadows with a bottle of hope, priced at just everything you have left. While the tanks roll over the bodies of our children and the fires rage out of control, they will pour their snake oil on the flames—smiling while the serpent’s coils tighten their grasp around our world…
Raging hard against the heartless opportunists and holding the morally bankrupt to account are UK (Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England) thrashers King Abyss, armed to the teeth with machine gun riffs, delivering their payload with fearsome precision and devastating impact. Debut full length album Snake Oil (2023) is a powerful, muscular take on the classic thrash attack, with a contemporary venom and aggression; but there is also another side to this band.
One moment they’re breaking bones with an iron fist, the next they are unwinding glorious melodic guitar lines and exploring startling depths of emotion. The songs shift effortlessly through the gears, from blistering pace and fury to huge ringing chords and headbanging grooves, from soaring, cascading solos into quiet pools of acoustic guitar and reflective vocals. This multifaceted album grabs your attention with the seething firestorm of “Weapons of Mass Delusion” (track 1) (which opens with a very Megadeth-style riff, but that comparison ends there with Bould’s strong, gruff, almost-metalcore vocals) and doesn’t let go until the final measured notes of closer “Nibiru” (track 9) have finally faded away. Constructed from modern thrash at its very, very best Snake Oil is a diverse, dynamic set of songs written with ambitious creativity and performed with passion and magnificent musicality.
Title track “Snake oil” (track 2) rattles off with a handful of more Megadeth-influenced riffs. The clean-sounding “Disdain” (track 4) has a very Iron Maiden feel to the interweaving melodies. The short “Interlude” (track 5) transports me back to the late-80s when many thrash bands included a delicate, classical-sounding track on their albums (Sepultura, Sabbat, Annihilator, etc.). The brutally heavy “Fear the dead” (track 6) and full-speed “A short drop and a sudden stop” (track 7) bring us back to the full weight of this thrash-tastic release, which leaves the tight and atonal “Eyes always watching” (track 8) and the longest and most progressive track on the album “Nibiru” (track 9) to bring things home.
Each time I listened to this album, my score went up: 70%… 80%… 85%? I’m going to settle on 90%. This is a strong British thrash album that deserves to be heard widely. It doesn’t rest on early thrash influences, this is truly a modern thrash album that forges its own identity.
Building on the foundations laid by their two excellent EPs, Reborn (2017) and …The Destroyer of Worlds (2018), Snake Oil sees King Abyss scaling new heights and driving forward into new and exciting territories. By never settling for second best, or accepting the merely ordinary when the exceptional can be attained by pushing themselves to the limit and beyond,
King Abyss have forged an album that will stamp their name into metal’s collective consciousness for years to come. This brand of snake oil delivers on every promise—take a sip and become addicted forever!
Review score: 90%
Imperative PR contacted me inviting me to preview King Abyss forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either Imperative PR or King Abyss. 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 Imperative PR, and to King Abyss for continuing to create fresh, exciting new thrash.