To Kill A King’s third studio album, The Spiritual Dark Age released last Friday, and the London-based five-piece has come a long, long way since their inaugural EP My Crooked Saint, which released way back in 2011. Now they are about to embark on another headline tour, bringing their good friends CHILDCARE along for the ride.
The Spiritual Dark Age is the most pop-rock of all of To Kill A King’s records, shying away from their folk-rock roots, but not too much to seem unfamiliar to fans that have followed the band’s early work.
The record opens with the title track ‘Spiritual Dark Age’ and sets the pace of the rest of the album, it brings layers of percussion from verse to verse held together with a catchy chorus bringing focus onto the lyrics over the backing beat. The story told here and throughout the record is a well thought out commentary on everything that society deems to be painful and pulls apart the troubles of modern day living, touching on heartbreak, religion and, most importantly, in Ralph Pelleymounter’s words, “bullsh*t”.
The album brings a myriad of different tones and messages from song to song. The diversity in the music here is a testament to To Kill A King’s lyrical ability, with Ralph Pelleymounter at the forefront of everything.
The record enjoys a quiet patch but picks back up towards the end with ‘My God and Your God’, ‘Bar Fights’ and is rounded out by ‘And Yet…’. That isn’t to say that the songs in the quote, unquote, lull aren’t good tunes. They are arguably more beautiful that the rest of the record, with the aforementioned ‘Oh Joy’ and ‘The One With the Jackals’ being favourites of mine.
There is a real sense of To Kill A King trying to find a direction to take the band here. I find myself unable to place the album in genres because each individual song could belong to it’s own. You’ve got the more folk-esque music that we’re used to TKAK bringing to us in ‘Spiritual Dark Age’ but then by the end of the album, the band are dipping into piano ballads with the closing song, ‘And Yet…’
To Kill A King are a unique outfit, especially at the moment. Changing on a dime from song-to-song can be a hard thing to do, especially in live performance but they keep surprising fans and critics with their defiance against what is expected of them to achieve.
There is still so much unrealised potential within To Kill A King and as soon as they realise that they aren’t limited to what people expect, that they can express themselves and play outside of their box with their music, I firmly believe that it will be realised and that many more people will get their ears listening to the tunes of To Kill A King. That being said, this is what we have for now, a solid effort of a third album with an interesting and powerful take on modern life.
Plus, there’s a headline tour that you can catch them on. Give their album, The Spiritual Dark Age a listen here.