The story of the band that is now Kingseeker (and was once Coastlines) begins in Oslo, Norway in 2017 when guitarist Aaron Veliz decided to end his previous project Murder The Traitor. Wanting to continue to create new music, he reached out to an old friend in producer Emil Bringsli, known for his solo work under the moniker Bringsli as well as Arcadia and together they went on a journey through genres and sub-genres and a multitude of musicians. Settling on vocalist Jan M. A. Opsahl and drummer Marius Rød Tøftum, together they wrote the collection of songs that would be released here over two years, claiming influences in Bring Me The Horizon, Poison The Well and In Flames…
…while there is no direct link between the songs and the band themselves don’t consider it a concept record, “Daily Reminders” as the title suggests, does have a narrative that runs through it which incorporates themes of depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones and isolation in a depiction of the different mental states of day to day life as human beings. Those themes are wrapped in collection of heavy riffs with achingly beautiful soundscape backdrops, the instrumental title track setting the tone with a cinematic quality that finds itself somewhere between the Worlds of Metalcore, Swedish Melodic Death Metal and Post-Hardcore in perfect balance. The rhythm section kicks into life with “Unto Us“, Opsahl’s unclean vocals raising the hairs on the back of the neck as the thunder reigns down, surrounded by a whirlwind of staccato riffage, ranting and raving all the while. The Bring Me The Horizon influence is plain for all to see with the melodic parts Kingseeker have constructed building loosely on the bands “There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret” era stylings as a dynamic while making them their own to fine effect. “Copium” brings in the sung vocal verses to play off against the uncleans which gives the band perhaps more of an emotive edge and wider appeal but it’s the guest appearance of Robbe Madsen of Halcyon Days on “Umbra” and it’s DJent vibes that makes for a stone cold winner. Kingseeker aren’t ones for solos, instead embellishing groove heavy rhythm guitar work with gloriously melancholic backdrops, their clever tempo shifts and melodic breaks making these songs stand out and they’re not afraid to experiment with lush textures, guitar layering and programming to accompany their tales.
Overall the balance of unclean to clean vocals as been worked very well and the transitions for those clean parts musically are slick, reflecting the maturity of the musicians themselves. Stand out cut “Flowered Waterfalls” does this particularly well, remaining heavy despite those sing-a-long moments to make for a powerhouse. The influence of Metalcore and Hardcore is also felt on these tracks with cuts like “A Life You Neglected” being one that bands from 2005 would have killed for, the main riff being satisfyingly crunchy as it flows into “Oceans Of Regret” like a perfect partner, both bringing the mosh pit friendly headbanging action that we all crave. “Empires” brings We Came As Romans vibes with some tasteful group vocal parts and some achingly beautiful piano and synth parts before the largely American accented and emotive vocals of “Broder” take hold. They benefit from being recorded at Cantus Studio and build into a heavy, almost downtempo closing that is absolutely crushing. There is one issue however and that is that at 46 minutes the album feels a little over long and if we were being ultra critical, we’d say less is sometimes more and if you cut two from the twelve and made it 38 minutes then it would make a real impact. The problem with that statement is which two you would cut because there is no cut that lacks in quality on show here and when it comes to the finale that is “Impostor Syndrome“, it’s an absolute peach… [7.5/10]
Umbra (ft. Robbe Madsen of Halcyon Days)
A Life You Neglected
Oceans Of Regret
Uzumaki (ft. Ivan Hansen of Frostbitt)
Impostor Syndrome (ft. Daniel Hesby Hansen)
“Daily Reminders” by Kingseeker is out 21st January 2022 and is available over at bandcamp.