Kingdom - Kingdom (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Kingdom (2006)

Goodbye Blue Skies

Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.
- Alexander Hamilton

Though that quote has been bastardized and misused in yearbooks and MySpace profiles across the country, it's still a very powerful thing to think about, and it's something that applies to a lot of the more socially and politically-minded punk bands of the day than some may realize. It's an easy thing to have beliefs, but to have convictions is another thing entirely.

Kingdom certainly have convictions, and the subject of those is going to divide everyone who's able to get past the singer's unseasoned snarls. The subject at hand is veganism, and it's one that the song "Bathory" shows is as important as anything to this four-piece:
In a moment I was forever changed, when I made an oath that no life / Would be taken in my name, our claims of natural / Reveal themselves as criminal, so I commit to compassion / Will you answer this call for action?
Leaving no room for fence-sitting, Kingdom is able to provocatively have anyone listening question their own beliefs, myself included. As somebody who's never even considered veganism, the fact that those words were able to make me think about the reasons I eat meat is a testament unto themselves. I know it's a subject that's likely to turn a lot of people off, but it's something that can't hurt to think about. So it's not the message that turns me off of Kingdom -- it's the music.

The punchy vocals and repetitive chord structures grow tiresome quickly, and all the youthful enthusiasm in the world can't save the fact that they checked the diversity at the door. Within 10 minutes' time, the songs become muddled and hard to distinguish, with barely any individual element changing between them; it's always the same mid-tempo attack with raspily screamed vocals. Even the weakly attempted gang vocals at the end of "Black Sheep" feel like they were thrown on for the sake of it, and they lack a full sound that would help separate from the increasingly mundane offerings.

I have a lot of respect for people that truly do stand for something, I just wish the latter half of Mr. Hamilton's thought echoed into the actual music, because if that doesn't fall, your interest surely will.