I’ve been concerned about how much longer I’d be able to swallow the often-occurring misogyny in metalcore.
The intensity of the genre felt like a lie being told to prime listeners to channel the same explosive anger. But channeling that anger towards women felt too toxic and corrosive for me to condone. I felt as if I was starting to be on my way out of the scene. But the lyrics across Kingdom of Giants’ All the Hell You’ve Got to Spare make me grin from ear to ear.
Every second of intensity comes from hard-hitting, poignant self-truth. The circumstances of the world around us and the introspection about how to interact with them wowed me from the start. It felt so organic, and I found it unbelievably easy to resonate with.
Not only does lead singer Dana Willax bring difficult topics into the lyrics of each song, he tackles deeply personal issues with enthusiasm. He plucks at the root of a painful situation and bears it to show to all in his lyrics. I see the lyrics as one of the stand-out parts of this album. The topics of fear, of failure, of financial instability, and of unoriginality are but a few of these anthems brought to the center of songs with sweltering vocal ferocity.
The ferocity of these expositions feels physically cleansing to listen to, and enthralling.
It feels like there isn’t room for exaggeration. No miscommunications, no distortions. Just deliberate, blistering emotional transparency.
Powerful lines like “Only 20 dollars left, if I can make it stretch to the next check I’ll be okay,” are scattered in abundance through the album. I knew I was looking at something different the first time I heard the first track, Cash Out.
As I continued through the album, I saw something uniquely extraordinary in every song. There was an acrobatic rap feature in Lowlife. The narrative of Damaged Goods was deeply stirring. Heavy screams in Tunnel Vision shook me in the first listen. Compelling rhythms and a tremendously evocative guitar solo in Lost Cause brought out some intense feelings. These weree but a few of the unmistakable gems on this album.
All the Hell You’ve Got to spare is full of thumping, bottom-heavy instrumentation that strikes a unique balance with its moving parts.
Colorful accompanying guitar licks and juggernaut percussion make the rhythm lines feel light and unconfined. Because of this, the rhythms are able to move with surprising versatility. The constantly intense and creative drum licks give some of the strongest motion to the album, which compels the tenacity of its peaks. These high moments translate beautifully to crisp instrumentation.
The bass and guitar instrumentation flick and dart, making crisp sonic punches that feel light at the same time. Delicious instrumentation and movement live smack-dab in the chorus of Lowlife. The vocals feel golden against a backdrop of melting bass sound and syncopated rhythm. In similarity to many of the songs on the album, there are multiple layers of movement that create a sprawling soundscape. These moments feel almost impossible not to get wrapped up in.
Compared to the triumphant heaviness of the album, there are spaces that beg for tenderness. A piano break in Lost Cause clears the space beautifully. The titanic guitar solo that follows left me in awe.
Kingdom of Giants nails an extremely difficult balance to strike between intensity and space in a wholly unproblematic way. They nail this, even down to the details of female vocal features.
Compared to the popular formula of including female voices to support romance narratives or add feminine appeal, All the Hell You’ve Got to Spare takes a different approach. The female vocal features feel like instrumental complements that give breadth to the sound of the moment. This balance appears to make it even easier for the band to nail the changes in energy and pace, in songs like Gray Area and Damaged Goods where contrasting softness has room to shine.
If we’re talking about transitions, Motif is close to a perfect example of how effectively Kingdom of Giants can move. The band flits between stoic choruses, nimble thrashes, and soft reprieves with seamless energy. For a song expressing the fear of unoriginality, Motif harnesses transitions that put it into a unique tier of composure.
The album has a few subtle caveats. I would like to see a little more variation in the bass lines. Even though the exchange between consistency and variation is a particularly difficult to overcome, I think it’s possible for Kingdom of Giants to make it to the next level. There are also times when the phrasing behind vocals come off as reaches.
Overall, All the Hell You’ve Got to Spare is packed with more motion excitement, and contrast than a first-time listener would expect.
Its lyrics are completely engaging. They feel good to shout along with, and that’s a lot to say. The instrumentation is crisp and unpredictable and contributes to an overwhelming charm that got me to love this album almost immediately.