Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground extreme metal. Whether they’re death metal, black metal, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, metalcore, heavy metal, speed, punk-metal, stoner metal, etc., we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands . On this week’s Demo:listen, we enter the darkened, crumbling halls of Lexington’s Rotting Kingdom.
Rotting Kingdom’s self-titled demo/EP is a rare monument. The kind of opening work that casts a long shadow into the future. But never mind the future, Rotting Kingdom is a debut so massive and so imposing it chills the air within its immediate proximity. Here are three songs by five men from Lexington, Kentucky of passionately, but patiently sculpted, and then expertly captured death doom. Not only do these gentleman raise high an eloquently succinct and evocative band name for their sound, but their sound itself finds a deliciously sweet spot between so many bands we all love and just works a certain kind of magic from there. Rotting Kingdom riff like Hooded Menace covering Shades of God-era Paradise Lost. And at times the rhythm section quakes like a Cathedral jam. Their guitarists, Clay Rice and Kyle Keener, solo like Pallbearer covering Mournful Congregation, while the sonorous and resonant growls of Anton Escobar, the vocalist, bring to mind Temple Of Void’s Mike Erdody singing Loss karaoke.
So, we reached out to Rotting Kingdom and finally caught up with the band two nights ago, just moments before they took the stage to perform for only the second time. They were opening for The Skull.
Rotting Kingdom began, according to the band, when “Anton [Escobar] and [drummer] Brandon [Glancy] had the idea about six years ago.” Although, this idea only “came to fruition in early 2016.” The band continues: “We all play in other bands around town [check out Tombstalker] and have been friends for a long time, [Rotting Kingdom] came together naturally.”
As for their flawless victory of a moniker, the band relates: “We believe the name to conjure a sense of grandeur and darkness. A decrepit elegance. The idea of a rotting kingdom brings to mind the themes of decay, the passage of time, loss, and morbidity.”
Speaking of time, the three songs on Rotting Kingdom, due to all of the members having demanding schedules, took a year to write. Which is more impressive than anything else, given the sheer magnitude of all three pieces on Rotting Kingdom, not to mention their myriad nuances.
“Someone will bring a riff or idea to practice and then it grows out from there. We never really set out to aim too much in any one direction and leave the songwriting open ended. Our influences are varied between the five of us, from the expected death doom classics, to goth and electronic, to kirtan, Scandinavian folk, and outlaw country. Each member brings a unique perspective to the band.”
“We recorded at Sneak Attack Studios here in Lexington with Jason Groves over the course of one day. [“Demons in Stained Glass”] took the longest out of the three to write and only really finally came together in the studio, quite differently than we had planned.”
We’ll now leave you to enjoy Rotting Kingdom, undoubtedly over and over again until we get more. Which, by the way, is forthcoming. According to the band, they’re writing a full length now. They’re hoping to record in “late summer or early fall.”
Let them take their time, we say. This debut’s only getting better with each listen. Also, Rotting Kingdom will see a vinyl reissue through Boris Records, which will be available soon, according to the band.