What can be said about this offering by The United States’ death/doom outfit Rotting Kingdom’s 3 song self titled EP other than enchanting. Not much can go wrong when a death/doom band attempts to play this kind of material in 3 long portions given there is enough substance to facilitate the lengthiness. Rotting Kingdom does more than just provide the listener with enough content to supplement the experience; it achieves immersion through the slightly melancholic opening track to the horror themed moments of “The Castle of Decay” and the ominous presence of “Demons In Stained Glass”. Considering this is only 24 minutes of material; it was important and vital that the members of Rotting Kingdom effectuated musical absorption from the inception.
“Adrift In a Sea of Souls” starts as a doom metal track traditionally would, softly, slowly then builds in speed as you tag along for the journey into dark territories. It constantly plays with rhythm in an act to accomplish a sense of reverie whilst perpetuating and reinforcing the atmosphere. This is achieved through loud twin guitar leads that drift along passages and at times are intersected by each other when playing diverse notes that actively trade compliments back and forth. At times the lead riffs for a particular passage may take the form of 2 installations, the lead riff and the stripped down version of that riff. An example of this can be heard on the opening track. Like two diverse roads with multiple turns that eventually spearhead the same path; the music on Rotting Kingdom does well to weave slightly varying sections into one comprehensive body of work. As far as experimentation goes, there is a bit of that happening on the “The Castle of Decay” via use of a stoner doom metal modus operandi. It was a decent experience to drift from the contemporary death/doom style to an orthodox format of stoner doom metal momentarily. By doing this Rotting Kingdom exhibited their ability to convincingly and effectively incorporate other elements into context. After exiting the horror-esque overtone one is immediately greeted with a black metal characteristic via tremolo picking that quickly develops into an ominous state of consciousness. The transition from one format to another whilst keeping the death/doom aspects inviolate is essential, as some bands tend to endeavor such routes but end up jeopardizing the consistency of the music. Rotting Kingdom does not falter here.
Rotting Kingdom is quite a profound offering due to its short but multifaceted lyrical styling, which can either be interpreted as fantasy or reality (reality in terms of emotional and introspective value). The clean production of the music makes it easy for anyone new in the genre to listen and appreciate each aspect; whether it be the strong drumming, hulking vocal enunciation and the extravagant riffs and solos.
The conveyance of Rotting Kingdom’s messages and discerning were indeed both candid and submersible. The members of the band channeled their efforts in unification thus providing portentous and memorable quantities of music. Having heard this material has evoked much anticipation for a future full length release from Rotting Kingdom. They are certainly an upcoming act that enthusiast of the underground death/doom scene should keep an eye on.