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Kings Winter – Edge Of Existence Award winner

Kings Winter
Edge Of Existence
by Neil Cook at 11 April 2021, 6:41 PM

KINGS WINTER, started life in 2018 as a bit of a side/studio project for the downtime from their other band LIVING ABYSS. The band are named after their home town in Germany Königswinter.  The band consists of married couple Julie providing distinctive and wide ranging vocals and Tobias taking care of almost everything else, bringing in Marco for drums on the album.  Tweaking their sound ever so slightly from their first EP, dialling the keys back a bit, but maintaining their sound, a cross between classic Heavy Metal, and a bit of that Scandi Mellow Death, so you get the Heaviness and Power, but with bags of melody.

The spoken intro “Living Systems” is itself interesting, being a quote from Michael Crichton’sJurassic Park”, read by their good friend Justyn "JC" Roberts.  The book served as a bit of an inspiration for parts of the album.

For me 2nd track, the title track, “Edge Of Existence” is a bit conflicting.  Musically it sets out their stall from the beginning, a powerful and heavy guitar driven Metal song.  But at first listen I wasn’t so taken by the vocals.  Repeated listening though they grow on you, and actually demonstrate Julie’s amazing range, handling the restrained rock vocals and some fine growling too.  So, stick with it kids and pay attention! “Kingdom Of The Blind” is a more Melo Death type track, with a bit more keys, and that distinctive guitar sound, but here the vocals grabbed me from the outset, very clean and eminently suitable for the song. “The Next In Line” is a more restrained song, and the voice is the definite star, but there is some cool bluesy guitar work there, and when the song does let go in the choruses the pomp and power take full effect. A standout track for me.

The Human Dynasty”  leads in with a piano/voice section before letting loose with some crunchy guitars. Tobias’ backing vocals adding extra depth in places, although Julie on her own has it covered. A melodic mid-paced rocker. “Ghosts In This Machine” has the obligatory whirring gears/machine sound that a song with this title has to have.  The song is built on a repeating riff and some nice drum fills, before transmuting into a restrained piano and acoustic middle section before the soaring guitar solo, as very Scandinavian melodic, symphonic song, but with a much more restrained, less hysterical opera styled vocal, which works for the song.

Crusaders Of Today” is a powerful Metal song for today.  “In these uncertain times…” could only be a lyric from a 2020 song, but barrels along like Metal song from back in the day. The penultimate song “Dangerous Ascendancy” has some serious axe slinging, and is perhaps the song most in line with the Melo Death approach, keyboards a little more prominent in the mix, the faltering approach to the vocals and the guitars have that feel.  It does work, but isn’t immediate as some others, although the bass/drum section leading into the slow guitar piece before the solo is a nice touch. “Discard The Ashes” has all the elements of the songs gone before in one, the riffage is mean, the vocals are spot on, the drumming works, the soling is absolutely correct for the music, just the right side of restrained.

All in all, a good and listenable album.  Not quite the perfect piece, but so very nearly there, it would be interesting to see this performed by a full band, to see how the dynamics change in the live arena, I think it could enhance this already tasty treat.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Living Systems (Intro)
2. Edge Of Existence
3. Kingdom Of The Blind
4. The Next In Line
5. The Human Dynasty
6. Ghosts In This Machine
7. Crusaders Of Today
8. Dangerous Ascendancy
9. Discard The Ashes
Lineup:
Jule Dahs – Vocals
Tobias Dahs – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Guests:
Marco Vanga – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 11 May 2021
 

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