I’m not sure how much competition there is in the this category, but everyone’s favourite stoner-doom supergroup KIND are back with their second album five years after their debut Rocket Science. I’m not sure if there’s an internationally accepted, scientific definition of a ‘supergroup’, but I’m happy to go along with it in this case as I’ve actually heard of most of the members’ previous jobs (bearing in mind that I basically live under a rock). So: KIND is comprised of drummer Matt Couto (ex-Elder), bassist Tom Corino (ex-Rozamov), Craig Riggs (unmistakable vocalist of Roadsaw) and guitarist Darryl Shepard (ex-absolutely loads of things, but my personal favourite was his stint in Black Pyramid where he sang and played guitar on the band’s finest album Adversarial).
Given the members’ previous experience, you might expect KIND to follow the well-worn paths of stoner-doom, but they’re much more difficult to pigeonhole than that. I mean, we’re not talking free-form jazz or anything but there’s definitely something quite unique about the band’s sound. The songs are based on repeating riffs, but KIND don’t have the same focus on just hitting a head-nodding groove as most stoner-rock bands and are definitely fond of taking tracks off in unexpected directions. Equally, while the music is heavy and has a dark edge, it doesn’t really sound like doom.
The first record seemed to draw all sorts of comparisons to Kyuss which I didn’t get. Perhaps I was being overly literal, but apart from Siberia sharing certain obvious similarities to Kyuss’s Space Cadet, I just didn’t see it. Perhaps it’s that KIND are single-mindedly pursuing their own path, in much the same way as the desert rock pioneers did and there hasn’t been an easy tag invented to slap on them just yet.
I think I was rambling a bit there, so to summarise: a unique and dark take on heavy, riff-driven rock.
Mental Nudge kicks off with Broken Tweaker, an excellent track that sets out the stall for plenty of quality rock to follow. The guitar and bass snarl their way through a series of pounding riffs and Craig Riggs demonstrates his vocal chops through an excellent chorus. There’s even a tasty guitar solo to enjoy before an outro that really makes me think of Roadsaw; or that could just be my failing to process Riggs singing in a different band. The questionably named Fast Number Two lives up to its billing, provided you weren’t thinking along the lines of dietary fibre, and builds to a satisfying, chugging finale.
KIND have really come up with an excellent album. Individually the tracks are good, but works even better as a whole and it really repays repeat listens…
KIND slow things down with Bad Friend which juxtaposes the heavy guitars against Riggs’ mellow vocals. It’s a tried and true combination that works really well, definitely helped by the series of awesome riffs that Shepard and Corino lock into. As they do elsewhere on the record, KIND mix things up enough to keep matters interesting with a speedier instrumental interlude towards the end. Helms has a different feel again, with the bass taking the driving seat and the guitars providing some interesting textures.
It’s Your Head is probably the most immediate track on the album, with the first half driven by a riff that manages to be both heavy and (almost) jaunty. It’s one to get the old toes tapping, before slowing down into an atmospheric second half. The title track is a slow-burner and a really good one at that: the whole thing has a very spacey feel, with some tasteful lead guitar and a style of vocal delivery that’s entirely atypical of most heavy music.
The album closer Trigger Happy slows things down even further to a doom crawl and I wasn’t initially sure whether it really worked for me or not. It’s wading-through-treacle slow and… sparse. Like everything else on the record, it still manages to sound unlike any other band I can think of and provides a menacing close to proceedings.
As with their debut, KIND have really come up with an excellent album. Individually the tracks are good, but works even better as a whole and it really repays repeat listens. In this day and age it’s rare to come across a band that don’t really sound like anyone else, so if you’re in the mood for something heavy and a little bit different, you should look here first.
Scribed by: Liam Blanc