Friday 27 March 2020

King Buffalo - Dead Star (EP Review)

Release date: March 20th 2020. Label: Self Released (Everywhere Else) / Stickman Records (Europe). Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Dead Star – Tracklisting

1.Red Star Pt. 1 & 2 16:21
2.Echo of a Waning Star 03:04
3.Ecliptic 03:51
4.Eta Carinae 08:01
5.Dead Star 03:57
6.Red Star Pt. 2 (Radio Edit) 04:41


Sean McVay - Guitar, Lead Vocals & Synth
Dan Reynolds - Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson - Drums & Percussion


Dead Star is the new EP from famed Psych Stoner Rockers – King Buffalo – and it continues the spaced out heavy journey the band perfected on their last album. It’s good to see that Dead Star is on for a considerable length running past the 36 minutes mark. Dead Star is equally ambitious as King Buffalo previous albums with the band focusing on experimenting more with their overall sound.

Opening song – Red Star Pt. 1 & 2 – is a Progressive Spaced Out Opera with the band playing a melody of different styles that fall under the branch of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal. The song is always constantly evolving with traces of Drone, Post-Rock, Sludge Rock and even Classic Rock for a consistent and challenging style of music. The ethereal vocals feel coming from a distant galaxy of some sort but the music is the EP’s main strength. The 1st part of the song runs for 12 minutes and it’s an absolute delight to here. Though it’s the 2nd part that’s perhaps the best part of the entire EP with King Buffalo feeling hugely inspired by SLEEP and their legendary Dopesmoker opus. You’ll understand when you hear the song.

Second song – Echo Of A Waning Star – is more of a laid back Psychedelic style of music with King Buffalo moving into Post-Rock territory but there are still some fantastic Heavy Stoner Sounds to explore with a trippy Psychedelic vibe that King Buffalo are masters at conjuring gigantic huge riffs out of nothing.

Third song – Ecliptic – is a different change of direction from the band. As this song is more Electronic based with a gloomy 80s sci-fi setting. Maybe influenced by John Carpenter in places but this song still fits into the overall vibe of the EP. There is still a Doom/Stoner Rock sensibility running throughout this song but just played in a different style and it’s a gloriously hip song that’s superbly played from start to finish.

Fourth song – Eta Carinae – is the type of song that King Buffalo can play standing on their heads and it still sounds remarkably fresh and original. This has more of a 70s/80s influence but still showing a modern Psychedelic aesthetic as well. The ambient sounds interact superbly well with the instrumental work the band lay down here. This song runs for 8 minutes or so and King Buffalo have a lot of time to play with and treat the listener to a more refined style of Psych Stoner Rock.

Fifth song – Dead Star – starts off as a semi-acoustic song and I thought that the song would stay that way but the band wisely up their game and bring the heavy grooves back with a thundering presence. The 1st half of the song is wonderfully played but I prefer the 2nd half of the song where the heavy riffs appear. Though it’s good to see a different side from King Buffalo. This song feels like a mash-up of All Them Witches and Elder but King Buffalo still allowing their own creative ideas to reign supreme.

The final song is the radio edit version of Red Star Pt 2 and it’s good to hear this song by itself. As this song is my favourite part of the entire EP. It’s King Buffalo at their most loudest, flamboyant and bombastic best.

Dead Star is a masterclass of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal that show why King Buffalo are highly thought of within the Doom/Stoner Metal community. For myself, personally speaking, this is the best release I’ve heard from King Buffalo yet. As it allows the band to try something different whilst retaining their classic sound and without alienating their established fan-base.

Dead Star is an essential release and if you’re a true Doom/Stoner Metal fan then you need this record in your collection. This EP will end up as one of my favourite records of the year…..

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to King Buffalo and Nick at Stickman Records for the promo. Dead Star is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Stickman Records in Europe and from King Buffalo everywhere else.