As a lover of music and a seeker of soulful experiences, I was intrigued when I heard about the Irish post-metal sludge doom band Raum Kingdom and their sophomore album “Monarch.” With a band name like that, I was expecting something heavy and powerful, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The album kicks off with “Red Admiral,” a slow and haunting masterpiece that’s just a taste of what’s to come. The guitars are atmospheric and foreboding, and the drums and bass provide a solid foundation. The track gradually builds in intensity, like a storm on the horizon.
The second track, “Hairstreak,” starts off with a soul piercing piano intro that immediately grabs your attention. The vocals are deep and menacing, and the lyrics are dark and introspective. The song shifts between heavy and atmospheric sections, creating a sense of tension and release.
“Swallowtail” is a standout track at almost 10 minutes long, with a driving rhythm and a memorable chorus. The vocalist Dave Lee delivers on every level here with his ability to pierce your chest with his soulful performance on this one. The guitars are melodic and emotive, and the vocals are passionate and raw. The song has a sense of urgency and desperation that is palpable.
“Comma” is a slower and more introspective track, with a focus on atmosphere and mood. The guitars are dreamy and hypnotic, and the vocals are hushed and ethereal. The song feels like a journey through a dark and mysterious landscape and I’m completely here for it.
“Gatekeeper” is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, with crushing riffs and a thunderous drum performance from Mark Gilchrist. The vocals are intense and visceral, and the lyrics are full of existential dread. The song is a visceral and cathartic experience, like a primal scream. This song is probably my favorite performance by guitarist Andrew Colohan. He showcases tasteful pull backs as well as his ability to produce memorable and haunting melodies.
The album closes with “Pieris,” a slow and mournful instrumental that feels like a requiem. The guitars are mournful and reflective, and the drums and bass provide a sense of gravity. The track is a fitting tribute to the band’s late bass player Ronan Connor, and a reminder of the fragility of life.
Overall, “Monarch” is an impressive album that showcases the band’s talent for creating atmospheric and emotionally charged music. The songs are well-crafted and dynamic, with a sense of depth and complexity that rewards repeated listens. The production is A-list level, with a clear and powerful sound that highlights the band’s strengths.
What sets Raum Kingdom apart from other bands in the genre is their ability to blend heaviness with melody, creating a sense of contrast and balance. The album is full of powerful riffs and crushing rhythms, but also moments of beauty and introspection. The vocals are a highlight, with singer Dave Lee’s deep and emotive voice providing a sense of depth and soulfulness.
While the album is certainly heavy and intense, it’s also full of nuance and subtlety. The band’s ability to create atmosphere and mood is impressive, and their use of dynamics and contrast keeps the listener engaged. The songs feel like journeys, taking the listener on a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. This entire album is an album I see myself spinning next month, next year, and 10 years from now. Its full of so much raw emotion and talent that the playability is immeasurable. Truly an album that in my humble opinion is timeless.
If you’re a fan of heavy music with a soulful edge, then “Monarch” is definitely worth checking out. Raum Kingdom is a band that deserves to be heard, and this album is a testament to their talent and passion. Rest in peace, Ronan Connor.
Overal Score 9/10
Review by: George Bauman IV