I honestly didn’t think there would be another Kingbathmat album. The man behind Kingbathmat is the very talented John Bassett. John has been a very busy man since the last Kingbathmat album, “Overcoming the Monster,” was issued in 2013. He released an album under his own name, “Unearth,” which was acoustic based He also has released three mostly instrumental albums with his prog metal/post metal project Arcade Messiah. In addition, he even explored synthpop on his other side project Sacred Ape, which I was not a fan of.
It seemed that he was content with putting the Kingbathmat name to rest. Given that it is a strange name (his old internet troll name actually!), perhaps he would just let Arcade Messiah pick up the slack? He got together with Kingbathmat drummer Bernie Smirnoff with the idea of doing yet another side project. Instead, the material wound up having a very distinct Kingbathmat vibe to it. The outcome being this EP called “Dark Days.”
While the band is now a duo, the music is indeed very much Kingbathmat. First, you have John’s great voice (which I missed). And second you have Bernie’s chops which are on display on the track “Feathers.” Someone needs to call Bernie, the Fillmaster. He has more fills on display on the last half of that song than most drummers do in a career! This is not to overlook John’s lead guitar work on it either!
The EP has five tracks with the last two being the classic mini-epics that the band has been known for. But the songs have an edge to them that John seems to have brought in from Arcade Messiah. The blistering “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore” is the perfect example of that (not to be confused with the David Bowie tune “‘Tis Pity She Was a Whore”). The song ROCKS! If radio stations weren’t a joke, this song would get played.
The closer “Nihilist” is another favorite from the EP. It has a psych vibe that they are known for and plenty of atmosphere as well. The bottom line is that Kingbathmat is definitely back and better than ever. Not only is this a huge treat for the existing fans, since it’s 5 songs at 32 minutes, “Dark Days” makes a great introduction to those who have not heard Kingbathmat before! My only complaint is that it’s only 32 minutes!
1. Dark Days
2. ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
3. Magnet to Pain