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Album Review: Kingswood ‘Microscopic Wars’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on August 22, 2014

In the wake of the powerhouse that was, and to a lesser extent, still is Wolfmother, comes Kingswood. These four lads out of Melbourne follow in the path of Andrew Stockdale’s iconic band in reviving 70s Black Sabbath-esque heavy metal and combining it with a uniquely Australian classic-rock aesthetic.

When Microscopic Wars, Kingswood’s debut album, is at its best and heaviest, it rivals Wolfmother and Cosmic Egg. It must be noted though, that two of its hardest hitting tracks, “Ohio” and “She’s My Baby”, are both songs from Kingswood’s past. Unfortunately, possibly in attempt not to ruin a good thing, the LP feels a little safe, and the band’s efforts to diversify on their newer songs feel somewhat meek.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot to enjoy here, because there is. One thing the band need to be praised for is their more considered approach. It’s easy to see they’ve left space on many of the tracks for which to experiment in. “ICFTYDLM” (that’s: I can feel that you don’t love me, for those in the know) fades out the generic rock elements in its back half to make way for some god damn beautiful psyche elements. So the question is, why isn’t this kind of majesty more prevalent throughout the entire song, hell, the entire album? One of the most interesting sounds of the album comes in the form of “Hours”, a crackly love ballad that is unfortunately relegated to a 36 second long interval slot. So don’t get me wrong, there’s a hell of a lot of talent and diversity here, it just feels a little underdeveloped.

Despite this, every song is enjoyable, a result of the band knowing when to give and when to take. Fergus Linacre’s strong singing talent works with the tempo and tone of Alex Laska’s sexy as fuck guitar work, rather than letting it merely be a backdrop for his vocals. At times, he gives Laska the spotlight he deserves. A good example is “Tremor” which features some gorgeous riffs amongst a catchy, danceable chorus. Meanwhile the bass and drums of Jeremy Hunter and Justin Debrincat provide a strong backbone, never over powering the work, but always there giving it structure.

The album is on shelves as of today and I would recommend it for any fan of their previous work and even those who have found them a little too one dimensional in the past. In summary, Microscopic Wars is a two sided coin. While not as hard hitting as Kingswood’s previous work, it is a lot more varied and interesting, though it does leave the listener wondering, why didn’t they turn the elements that make that so, up another notch? What is for certain, is that the talent and direction is there; the two things just need to give each other a little push.

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