The cover has a blood-red cascade of brain entrails emerging from the eye sockets of an elfin head…that gruesome image does not mean what you think. This band call themselves ‘heavy psyche’ and, with a couple of albums and EPs to their name, King Buffalo have reached maturity and given free rein to their progressive, psyche and rock influences on their powerful new album, The Burden of Restlessness.
The trio of Sean McVay (vocalist/guitarist), Dan Reynolds (bass) and Scott Donaldson (drums) have declared this, the first of three albums for this year… you’re going to cost me money guys, ‘cos on the strength of this one, they will be essentials.
The opener, ‘Burning’ has a deceptively simple riff, a great bass line and drum runs that build and build into a Sabbath meets Crimson slice of heavy loveliness. ‘Hebetation’ (which apparently means ‘make dull, obtuse or blunt’) is certainly complex with a rapid tempo, at odds with the lugubrious vocals, is another treat with no guitar solo as such, instead just layer upon layer of sound that still satisfies as Rush like echoes abound in the structure.
‘Locusts’ does deliver a solo of melody and craft over a dreamy bass/drum/guitar simple, effective riff. The closing track, Loam’ possibly sums these talented guys up the best with genius bass and drum patterns that weave around the sparse guitar and vocals, before a hefty, grungy power chord sequence blasts free and ushers in a very good solo that makes this my favourite; at the moment anyway.
In all, this is a fine album that has so many elements that it needs a few listens to ‘get’… yes, heavy psyche, but also heavy rock, heavy prog and the odd hint of heavy grunge even, let’s just say, it’s heavy! A worthwhile addition for fans of any of the aforementioned and I, for one, will look forward to the next two instalments in the hope that it is as good as, but different to this one.