dinsdag 16 augustus 2022

King Buffalo – Regenerator



King Buffalo – Regenerator
Self released / Stickman Records – 2022
Rock, Prog, Stoner, Psych
Rated: *****

I wish I was a dying man, then I could say, at the end of life, what will it be like, to start all over again…” It’s weird how certain tiny moments in a certain song can remind you of a totally different one. And how it, for some even weirder reason, might seem fitting. That opening tone, from opening track Regenerator of the much-anticipated album with the same name, reminds me of Funeral Moon by The Brigade. And with a title like Regenerator, and the fact that it is the final album of a trilogy of albums started in 2021, it all feels like the there is a new and brighter dawn approaching… 

We’ve been listening to the new King Buffalo album for a few weeks now, after which we saw them live at the Krach Am Bach festival and like so many of you all out there; we’ve been smitten with what they do for quite some time. Longing To Be The Mountain, Dead Star were both stunning albums and we mentioned them on the HiVe. The Burden Of Restlessness however dwarfed it all in my opinion, it immediately became my favorite album of 2021, and we said so in our review at the time. We were pretty late in mentioning follow-up Acheron, but that too immediately sparked so much inside me, and it became almost unbearable to know that there would be a third album coming to complete their trilogy… Unbearable because we did not know how long that wait would be…

The three albums are all chapters of the same story, and Regenerator brings conclusion, reshapes the motifs of Acheron into more light and more prog and harkens back to the themes of The Burden Of Restlessness; but there is no rehashing of ideas and there’s so much difference in depth and width, that all three have their own character and play their own lead in this intense story. And the seven tracks on Regenerator have their own stages and sections, all done with so much detail to the arrangements, the sounds, and the atmosphere that one might even forget for about those sparse yet wonderful vocals. With his very own distinct voice, Sean McVay has quickly become one of my favorite vocalists. You can feel how arduous it has been to write what he wrote and that this great result might still be something he lies awake about on many a night. But where the lyrics and vocals have their own spotlight, King Buffalo is and will probably always be more about the tightrope dance between heavy psych, hard prog and atmospheric rock. That majestic balancing act between claustrophobic, tight, pressurized and all those wide-open spaces, giving air and on this album: almost angelic light…

And dare I say, once again, that it is track four, a 3-minute-long Interlude and the following fifth track Mammoth that tells you all or most of what King Buffalo is about on this final album of the three. The daring, floating vocals during the interlude, the slow singing strings, turning the sound inwards, before blossoming and opening like a flower in the first morning sunlight. And that prolonged silence on CD, closing out the vinyl A side, the fact that you will have to put on side B, to hear that immediate slow marching Mammoth, both in bass, guitar tone and drums, is so perfectly done. A minute detail perhaps, but one that speaks volumes of the King Buffalo craftmanship. And to have the bass do that first fill instead of the guitar on Mammoth, feels effortlessly brilliant. Those soaring pastoral choir like vocals making the Mammoth take flight and touch the heavens, incredibly moving and giving so much comfort…

And that’s probably the biggest thing to take away from Regenerator, comfort, relief, reassurance; that yes, we suffered, and perhaps not all is well and not all will be well. But in some form and to some extent, we will be well... You, me, and the King Buffalo three…

(Written by JK)





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