The Kings Of Frog Island – 3   Leave a comment

Set for release on Elektrohasch Schallplatten the 17th of September, this record is part three in a trilogy. I’m not familiar with the first two albums, so I’ll review this number three on its own. Stoner or doom (or whatever you want to call it) is not the first thing that comes to mind when listening to this album. It has certain (heavy) psychedelic qualities, but there are a lot of calm parts too. Actually, it’s kind of hard to describe this band’s sound, since the sound is quite original. On the promo sheet it reads “For fans of: early Monster Magnet / Cherry Choke / Black Sabbath / Baby Woodrose.” The first mention nails it down: the sound of (early) Monster Magnet has indeed that same ‘free’ feel of heavy psychedelic improvisation. The last couple of days I have been listening to Monster Magnet again, and what a great band they are! I’m actually thinking about writing a review on Dopes To Infinity or Spine Of God.

So, the third installment in a series of three makes me very interested in the first two. Actually, the first album is sold out, according to the promotion sheet, as is the vinyl version of the second album. So that’s a bummer. The Kings Of Frog Island hail from the U.K. and the mastermind behind the band is Mathew Bethancourt (Joshia, The Beginning, Cherry Choke). The Kings Of Frog Island is called an art project, which recordings are terminated, but there is an eight-person live performance scheduled for 2011.

Just over 45 minutes, the ten songs on album number three breath some sort of tribal undertone, as can be found on Black Widow albums. The album is quite conceptual in its approach, hence the term art project on the promo sheet. Don’t be discouraged by the words conceptual or art, because you still get a good load of heavy psychedelic rock. A lot of the songs aren’t straightforward ‘rock’ songs, and some riffs can come across as pretty unruly. For example, listen to Bride Of Suicide’s nervous and neurotic riffing. The Kings Of Frog Island is actually a six piece, and you can hear this in the ‘full’ sound this release has. Multiple vocals and a solid rhythm section make this release outstanding ‘long term’ material. Dark On You comes close to a ballad, and would fit nicely on a Black Mountain album. With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder what female vocals would add to their sound. The Keeper Of… is a slow build towards some tribal chanting and ends with discomforting voices. This album really is a grower: you’ll like it the first time around, but it takes a few days to grasp the album’s secrets and hidden treasures. More Than I Should Know is an easy breezy track with great drums and repeating lines. I Ain’t Sorry is a plain great song, and A Cruel Wind Blows is my absolute favorite: simple and beautiful folky (as in Pentangle, Fairport Convention) and after ninety seconds the 2nd vocals set in to create something haunted. Closer Gallowtree Gate is a lingering track that ends mid-sentence.

Looking back, even heavy psychedelic doesn’t cover the whole load. The sound on album number three is quite ‘indie’ (whatever that means, I know) and less rocky than you’d expect. A recommended release!


Kings Of Frog Island Myspace

Review Written By Sandrijn van den Oever


Posted September 1, 2010 by doommantia in The Kings Of Frog Island

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