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Palace Of The King – Valles Marineris Award winner

Palace Of The King
Valles Marineris
by Anton Sanatov at 21 August 2016, 9:51 PM

Listening to a Rock record can be a religious experience; just remember the first time you heard Zeppelin IV. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a believer or not, once that leather-clad choir starts chanting hymns of fallen angels with the preacher shelling out shotgun blasts of righteous Rock ‘n’ Roll scripture, you’ll be leaping out of the pews and joining in the sermon.

So lets get an Amen! for PALACE OF THE KING are inviting you to a Sunday service extraordinaire with their latest release “Valles Marineris”  - a bible of psychedelic faith in the kingdom of Rock ‘n’ Roll divinity.

“Valles Marineris” is like a soul-search with a funky kick. Once you see past the dizzying haze – of lilac hues - you shall find yourself facing a dystopian LYNYRD SKYNYRD with Jack White’s archaic eccentricities; and if that doesn’t move you, then I’m afraid that you are yet to get a chokehold on your spirit.

From the opening chords of the church organ on the irresistibly catchy “Let the Blood Run Free” to the lands of pure acid tripped sex that rest “Beyond the Valley” and under the “Black Cloud” of soulful female pipes, this record is Blues/Funk/Soul incarnate; and that’s just the first 3rd of the album.

What awaits you is a baggy of warm and fuzzy guitar tones that salivate with funky licks that must have been created by non other than “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”. The keyboards dominate throughout and can quite possibly turn a sinner into a saint. And if they don’t succeed, then the weight of that phenomenal bass tone jumping on your chest - on tracks like “We are the Vampires”, “Empire of the Sun” and “Sick as a Dog” - shall cleanse your soul. And although the record lacks the songwriting diversity of such peers as THE DEAD WEATHER, the consistency of composition makes it for a solid compilation.

The production is nice and tight whilst baring a cool 70’s vibe; and although the mix at times questionable, the sound is nonetheless splendid. The performances of the band members are simply phenomenal. The entire album sounds like a kindred jam, a gathering of like-minded individuals who are united in their space-bound vision. The keys of Sean Johnston are a revelation and the hefty bass lines of Andrew Gilpin are the kind that can even entice an axe-man to pick up a four string.

Overall – “Valles Marineris” is a piece of physical graffiti on the white striped walls of a funkadelic parliament. It pays homage to the sounds of the old-school whilst electrifying it with the energies of modern times. PALACE OF THE KING are taking us into a vivid realm of universal fantasy and holy enlightenment in the land of disco balls and peaceful vibes, through a record that lifts you up to the skies and holds you there without letting go.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

  1. Let the Blood Run Free
  2. Beyond the Valley
  3. Black Cloud
  4. The Bridge of the Gods
  5. We are the Vampires
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Sick as a Dog
  8. River of Fire
  9. Throw Me to the Wolves
  10. Into the Black
Tim Henwood – Vocals
Leigh Maden - Guitars
Matt Harrison - Guitars
Andrew Gilpin - Bass
Sean Johnston – Keys
Travis Dragani - Drums
Record Label: Listenable Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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