King Dude – Tonight’s Special Death


[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]

King Dude has become an appreciated group by now, and this is his first album, re-released by AVANT! Records in 2011. This is an occasion to see the beginning of his musical style that bears a personal mark in the present neofolk scene.

“My Everlasting Life” is the first song and the first glimpse into his manner of writing: minimal folk accords resembling church organ liturgies, and therefore more orientated to atmosphere rather than technique (a fact which is indifferent here). “Witch’s Hammer” plays on joyful, well-known Death In June sounds and most likely so does “River Of Gold”, maintaining however from the artist’s native country music an optimal dose of resemblance, so as to not fall in desuetude.

King Dude has many similarities with Spiritual Front, finding its inspiration from a hedonistic attitude towards life. “Born In Blood” unfolds naturally with a simple rhythm, but moves the heart with its fine and sweetly tender, modulated vocals. This combination of beautiful melodies and tough words is a characteristic feature of apocalyptic folk, making the music all the more influential. Like in “Slaves” where the floral-scented atmosphere of the melody is breezed by a misanthropic lyrical speech. Again, in “White Hands” the specter of Death In June appears, but with a personal touch nourished from a seeming interpretation of ancient pagan ballads that becomes more obvious in the next track, “Design”. However, Cowgill, the frontman, delivers a soft, embracing voice that soothes the soul and exudes a certain melancholy generated from pride.

Many songs are basically unplugged musical speeches acting like practices for a reintegration with nature. “Love All Around You” makes a pantheistic love declaration and “No One Is Here” speaks of an absence which should become acceptable when you are be able to see the “Day Of The Night”.

King Dude is for me the last bastion of the neofolk scene and I save my appreciative exaggeration for his latest albums. “Tonight’s Special Death” is more of a document of his debut period, and still has many of the best features you will find in his later discography.

King DudeTonight’s Special Death (LP edition)
Avant!, AV!013
LP 2011


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