Kowloon Walled City is a band I’ve always been a fan of, but for whatever reasons never quite caught on with me like some other bands of their ilk did. I’ve fully enjoyed their back catalog and listen to it often, but they’ve never had that esteem with me that a band like Isis or Mouth Of The Architect has garnered with me. And sometimes that happens with there being so much music in the world. Some great bands are destine to slip through the cracks.
Cut to Kowloon Walled City releasing their latest album, Grievances. I was completely caught off guard and blown away at how good this album is. It’s slow, heavy, and melodic, with riffs for days. The vocals are clean, yet have enough idiosyncrasies to them that make them sound original and new. But the part that completely got my attention and held it captivated for the full 37 minute run time is the rhythm section. Jeff Fagundes (drums) and Ian Miller (bass) are phenomenal on Grievances. Their backbone to songs like ‘Your Best Years’ and ‘Backlit’ are undeniably catchy and heavy as hell. Miller’s bass work is especially exceptional. I found myself entranced by how perfect his playing and style fit within the framework of Kowloon Walled City. Listening to Grievances is probably the first time in almost 15 years that I’ve regretted giving up playing bass.
Grievances being released by Neurot Recordings couldn’t be a better fit. Kowloon Walled City sounds like what I wish Isis would have ended up at if they hadn’t started trying to be Tool. They have a perfect synergy of crushingly heavy and extremely catchy. I fully expect Grievances to end up on a lot of year end lists, and Kowloon Walled City deserve it. This is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders and delivering the album of their career.
Highlights: Your Best Years, Backlit, True Believer, Daughters And Sons.
My original idea for this review was just “GO BUY THIS FUCKING ALBUM RIGHT NOW” over and over and over again. So, take my advice and go buy Grievances now. You can pick up the digital version at Kowloon Walled City’s Bandcamp and a plethora of physical versions at the Neurot Recordings Store.