Sunday 4 August 2013

King Carnage - Ounce of Mercy, Pound of Flesh

Following on from my recent review of one-man black metal band Uvikra, I'm checking out one-man death metal band King Carnage. King Carnage formed in 2012 in San Francisco and released their debut full-length, Ounce of Mercy, Pound of Flesh earlier this year via BadGod Music. Though a solo band, Vocalist/Instrumentalist The Left Hand was joined by drummer Rotten Bliss for the recording of the album. The Left Hand himself is also in fellow BadGod band Trillion Red and has previously been in US death/black metal bands Ligeia and Nepenthe. Ounce of Mercy, Pound of Flesh was released in March and limited to 250 CDs housed in 7" gatefold sleeves. It features eight songs full of raw and evil death metal.


1. Blade Efficacy
2. In Death Overshadow Thee
3. Provakate, Evizerate, Emasikate
4. Lord Sabotage
5. Scions Salvation
6. Ounce of Mercy Pound of Flesh
7. Archetype of Evil.
8. Making Angles In Blood.

King Carnage's sound is bass-heavy, dissonant and pretty technical. This isn't your archetypal death metal sound and its all the better for it. Blade Efficacy starts things off with a semi-industrial texture and occasional black metal symphonies. The drums are furious and there's plenty of room for the squealing guitar solos to have their way with your ears! In Death Overshadow Thee carries on where the opener left off. Its off-kilter structure really suits King Carnage's take on death metal I think. I really like the thickness that the bass sound brings and the guitar melodies nestling within the music add a real touch of the genres Swedish originators.

The albums pace increases with Provakate, Evizerate, Emasikate and Lord Sabotage. The shorter song lengths bring with them a sense of urgency and a chaotic fervour, which pricks up your ears. That's not taking anything away from the longer more progressive song though, as they help give the record a nice balance between thoughtful song-writing and good old brutality. For me, Lord Sabotage is one of the standout tracks on the record and seems to up the heaviness a notch. It's helped out be the production, which while giving each instrument it's own space on the record also gives it that raw and menacing edge, which helps to standout from other records in the genre.

Scions Salvation features a sludge-infested intro, which slowly builds into a powerful and dare I say it, upbeat song! I know you could never truly call death metal upbeat, but thanks to some great drumming the song does get under your skin and buries itself deep. The further you get into Ounce of Mercy Pound of Flesh, the more you start to notice other metal elements creeping into King Carnage's music. The title track for instance has a subtle modern slant to it. It's full of touches that aren't immediately obvious, but the more you listen to the record the more you spot them and begin to realise that the song-writing of The Left Hand shows all of his experience, gained in his previous bands.

Penultimate song Archetype of Evil is a brooding instrumental, which only builds the expectation further for closer Making Angels In Blood.  That anticipation is totally palpable as the crushing death metal of Making Angels In Blood kicks in. It's the last chance for King Carnage to worm it's way into your subconscious and it does it with aplomb. There's a mixture of that all-out death metal attack and the more considered, slower approach, which features that thicker sludge element from earlier in the record. Well worth listening to! 

Without being off the scale heavy, Ounce of Mercy Pound Of Flesh still manages to be one of the best death metal records I've heard so far this year. Now, I'm not one for best-of lists but I'm just glad that I was given the chance to listen to the album. I hope that King Carnage finds more followers and I think that BadGod Music has done a great job of helping to unearth another extreme metal band with unique qualities.

You can stream opening track Blade Efficacy, via my bandcamp page here:-

The whole record can be streamed via BadGod Music's bandcamp page here

You can purchase Ounce of Mercy, Pound of Flesh as a digital download or on CD via the above page too.

King Carnage Facebook -
King Carnage Website -
BadGod Music Facebook -

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