Formed in late 2012, Palace Of The King are a 4-piece rock band hailing from Melbourne, Australia. The line-up is Tim Henwood – Vocals/Guitar; Sean Johnston, Keyboards/Guitar; Travis Dragani – Drums and Anthony Licciardi – Bass. Get Right With Your Maker is their third studio album. So just what can you expect to hear? Well judging by previous outings strap yourself in for some brash, no nonsense hard rock and roll with a slice of funk, echoes of such luminaries as G’n’R and the Rival Sons with a little bit of sleaze a la Poison topped off with a distinctive 70’s classic rock blues vibe. Have I wetted your appetite? Well in that case read on.
Proceedings open with the just short of 7-minute epic ‘I Am The Storm’. This song especially the vocal drips regally of Motely Crüe angst and attitude. The break could have come out of the Rival Sons playbook and the interspersed tinkles of Hammond organ are a treat to the ear. What a fine start. Next up is ‘It’s Been A Long Time Coming’. The band slip seamlessly into party/sleaze mode with all the skill of 80’s Cinderella whilst hardly pausing for breath. This is followed by ‘Sold Me Down The River’ with which they indulge their funk and soul roots to great effect and still finding time to wind in some 60’s Psychedelia in the break. ‘A Dog With A Bone’ comes next. This is more blues/rock with a coating of soul but it has real Antipodean grown balls in its down under groove. ‘Said The Spider To The Fly’ reminds me of the Black Crowes in a good way and is firmly rooted in 70’s classic rock without sounding dated. The keyboards well fellow Aussie Hammond legend Lachy Doley would have been proud of the playing and they bat seamlessly off the fine lead guitar. ‘Move Through The Fire’ continues the mood with greater intensity. This track really does remind me of early Rival Sons paying homage to Led Zeppelin and other Brit bands of that era with a vocal that ethereally invokes the shade of Marc Bolan. ‘Horizon’ reminds me of The Answer before their last mild mannered Indie effort. Tim Henwood’s razor sharp rasping vocal combines with a mouth-watering hook and playing off against the solid/blocked guitar and 60’s inspired Hammond to reel you in hook line and sinker. ‘Fly Like An Evil’ is fire and brimstone rock and roll. Make no mistake these boys are set on mass conversion one way or another. In this case the relentless rhythm and distorted guitar solo are almost guaranteed to bring you to your knees and worship at the throne. The album closes with another epic this time seamlessly spanning eight and half minutes in the bat of an eye. This is a truly polished rock and shines like a diamond. Echoes of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ in parts, driven in with all the force of pneumatic road drill. But don’t switch your CD player off too soon or you will miss the hidden acoustic track ‘Get Right With Your Maker’ which stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the fine efforts another favourite blues/rock band of mine The Temperance Movement have been producing of late.
Palace of the King run contrary with the current scene for all the right reasons. Blending psychedelic moments of the 60s with the blues inspired heaviness of the early 70s, a good dose of fuzz with period Hammond organ topped off with a rawness Aussie bands seemed to have cornered. In Get Right With Your Maker they have crafted an album that draws on conflicting influences yet after the battle creates a sonic unity that’s truly their own.
Record Label: Golden Robot Records
Release date: 23rd of March 2018
Highlight tracks: ‘ I Am The Storm’, ‘Move Through The Fire’, ‘Horizon’
Review by Rob Birtley