Album number five from British doomsters The Wounded Kings is slated to be their last—the band announced they’d be breaking up a couple weeks before its release. While their two previous albums featured female vocals, they welcomed their original frontman back into the fold for this Candlelight Records swansong.
Visions of Bone begins with 14-minute epic “Beast” with begins on a sparse note, just vocals and guitar, before a classic Candlemass riff kicks in a minute later. This tune alternates between soft verse and heavy chorus in true epic doom fashion, throwing in an evil atmospheric interlude around the halfway mark that lasts for several minutes before they bring back the doom some 10 minutes in. The 8+ minute “Vultures” swoops down right away with a winding, circling sludge/doom riff, adopting a mid-paced downtuned march that reminds me of Crowbar. I suppose there’s a bit of Candlemass here too, particularly in the vocal department, where George Birch’s sneers sound somewhat like Rob Lowe, albeit in a lower register.
A slow, rumbling breakdown begins “Kingdom,” another lengthy epic track at a shade over 11 minutes. What follows might be the best riff on this album, a trad doom a la carte special that taps into the likes of Wino and Victor Griffin. Verses are a little light on guitar and pretty percussion heavy, but it’s that transitional doom riff that really makes it. And I really enjoy the mellow interlude that follows a spoken-word passage, ending around the eight-minute mark.
Following a more compact, four-minute track, “Vanishing Sea” takes us out on a forlorn note, another 10-minute epic, which brings the likes of Warning or Apostle of Solitude to mind. Suffice to say, when it comes to true doom, this record checks all the boxes.