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Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Raptor King - Dinocalypse

74 billion years ago the world was reigned by a king named Raptor V. One day, while in the middle of his morning ramble in a lava torrent, he saw some sort of portal open and because curiosity got the better of him, he dove in. As fate would have it, the other side of the portal was located in 2015, close to the Pont de Sevres in the city of Boulogne-Billancourt in the Parisian suburbs. When the gate closed, Raptor V was trapped in 2015, but after smoking a couple of freshly rolled joints and seeing some girls frolicking around in the streets he decided his new surroundings were destined to be his world from that day forth. In order to actually become the supreme master of this world he recruited two acolytes he met on the corner of the street. The one is called Nightsmoke, who only smokes at nightfall, a guitarist/illusionist known for his mystery, and the other is called Don Coco, holder of the chic, a percussionist with manners. Conquering the world and become its supreme master is no easy task, so in order to accomplish this they needed a plan, which was to take the worlds by means of becoming a sludge metal band with big balls. Raptor King was born.

A year after their debut 'Dinocracy', the world has awakened in complete chaos. A gigantic creature called Pelletor has messed up the entire world, leaving Raptor King without fans to please, booze to drink and thick-as-fuck booty to eat. This of course upsets King Raptor and it forces him into a triple reaction. The first is sadness and a fear of lacking strength to overcome this, the second is jerk off in front of the apocalyptic landscape and the final, and probably most sensitive, is him contacting his acolytes Nightsmoke and Don Coco. Together they tell the tale of the fight between King Raptor V and Pelletor on their second EP called ‘Dinocalypse’. Legend has it that listening to one of their creations evokes the feeling of an angel whispering the meaning of life in the bottom of your ears. Needless to say this I have to witness and experience myself. And I of course am curious to find out if King Raptor can reclaim his title of supreme master.

Weird, funny, insane, childish, ridiculous, I’m sure either of these terms will and can be used when people read the above story and there are probably a lot more similar comparisons to be found as well. I personally have no problem whatsoever with this type of approach of creating music. The world and what is happening in it at the moment is serious enough in itself, so why not be a bit less serious in your music. Either way, regardless their intentions and your preferred description this is not applicable on the actual music itself. Raptor King’s musical efforts definitely deserve more flattering critics than that, because if anything these guys know how and what to play. The EP kicks off with the title song, which starts like a power metal album should start: A bombastic musical frame, a choir sort of humming along, all the ingredients to build an epic anthem, right? Wrong. If there would be a king of deception Raptor King would be a strong competitor for that tile for sure, because whatever they play, it definitely is not power metal. It doesn’t take long to realize that, though, half a minute into the song the first sign of what Raptor King is really about appears. Raptor V himself clears his throat a couple of times as if posing a warning of what is coming, just before all hell breaks loose when the song continues with a thrashy rhythm that merges with a more hardcore punk rhythm within seconds. It’s fired up pace and countless breaks make this a great opening that sets the standards pretty high right from the start. When played live, I’m sure this one will be a guarantee for sore neck muscles and bruises. Definitely pit material.

No chance to get used to it though, the second song, appropriately called ‘The Witch’, shows a much darker side of Raptor King putting the doomy part of sludge into their musical equation. The songs changes pace and thus atmosphere a few times for a couple of seconds, giving it a sharp edge, an impression that is strengthened by Raptor V’s insane screaming and growling in these parts. In my opinion the best song on the album. Next up is ‘The Long Way To Rock’, slow, at times heavy song in which clean vocals are alternated with death grunts. And then there’s the appropriately named ‘Fight ‘n’ roll’ which is exactly the feeling this song conjures up when you listen to this. Its high speed rhythm, backed by insanely composed rhythm section lines, sets the atmosphere ablaze to which the once again insanely screaming Raptor V happily contributes. Add to this its sing-a-long-ish chorus and you have the perfect battle song. The album closes with what can only be described as Raptor King’s vision on a ballad. It’s called ‘Lonesome Raptor’ and it offers a soothing end to the explosive adventure of defeating Pelletor. When you hear Raptor V’s hoarse voice combined with the singing guitar riffs you could be forgiven for imagining yourself in a smoke-filled bar with nothing but cheap scotch, shady types and dubious girls. The absolute end however, is somewhat different, leaving room for, indeed, a sequel.

All in all ‘Dinocalypse’ is an EP that will please many if you ask me. The story backing this release up might not, but in all honesty, does that really matter? I think the story is not to be taken too seriously, Raptor King just wants to have fun making music, and that is exactly what this release breathes. In the end it all comes down to the quality of the music that is offered, which is no issue whatsoever in this case. Raptor V, Nightsmoke and Don Coco are skilled musicians with a good eye for composing great songs. So to those that really feel the story is a major obstacle for giving this a chance, man up and forget about it. You’ll enjoy the tunes. The rest can give this a try without hesitating. You too will enjoy the tunes.

Written by Henric van Essen

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