King Marm are one of the more enigmatic artists from the A1 Corridor scene of metal bands centred around Hertfordshire. Formed to celebrate their love of beer and binge-drinking, you’d be forgiven for thinking these lads promote a good time. In fact, it’s the complete opposite, and we’re all the better for it after these twenty-two minutes of remorseless sludge metal.
We have an image in our mind of sludge. It’s either the overweight afro-moshing of King Buzzo from The Melvins or the shirtless flab of Crowbar gurning through our screens. King Marm do nothing to dispel this aesthetic and take pride in being four nasty bastards with zero charm. With most songs about ‘getting in the next twelve’ and involving the kind of hangover lamentations we like to forget, the five tracks on offer here will not ease your comedown. But they’re heavy as fuck and do the job when it comes to no-nonsense metal.
‘Crabsmoker’ starts with ear piercing feedback and fuzzy riffs and sets the scene for the entire record. The vocal spews are venomous and sometimes unintelligible like proto-grunge legends, Tad, imitating Johnny Rotten. Imagine the person swaying at the taxi rank on a Friday night who vomits his half-eaten kebab down his white shirt before passing out on the floor. This is what we get in between the morass of grimy doom riffs and bass-heavy chugs. On ‘Drunk Tank’ a darker impulse is at play with vocalist, Sam, giving the impression he’s already pissed. This song delves into the potential for a Saturday night brawl through a more up-tempo maelstrom of palm-muted downstrokes. It’ll make your head spin once it’s all over and give you no time to recover before they launch into ‘Kick First’, another bruiser that sounds like Napalm Death playing sludge.
In theory, the idea of a ten-minute song by these guys should have you rolling your eyes. But ‘Street Rats’ is the standout track and most manic. The bassist has a great time punctuating the Orange Goblin riffs with a low-end rumble reminiscent of Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love. It’s the nearest we get to both Black Sabbath and the Sleaford Mods, and it’s a strange combination that shouldn’t work but does. On closer, ‘Electric Soup’, King Marm give us a dose of hooligan doom and remind us that even thugs are prone to introspection after a few cans of Carlsberg.
Metal should never be pretty or image-conscious and King Marm remind us that lager louts have just as much purpose as kids with neck tattoos playing breakdowns riffs. The only difference is these boys are likely to vomit on your shoes rather than retreat into a ‘safe-space’ of self-reflection. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Release Date: 05/06/2020
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Drunk Tank, Street Rats
Suggested Further Listening: Raging Speedhorn – Raging Speedhorn (2000), The Melvins – Houdini (1993), Praetoriun – Knee Deep in Detritus (2019)