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Palace Of The King - Valles Marineris album review

Blues rock made modern.

Palace Of The King Valles Marineris album cover

The band’s name might suggest something preposterously pretentious, but at their heart Palace Of The King really are simple, straightforward blues rockers.

The Aussies have something in common with Blues Pills, Graveyard and Crobot. They also have the occasional funk perspective, as on Black Cloud and Sick As A Dog, which bring to mind Betty Davis or Mother’s Finest. The Bridge Of The Gods doffs its riffs in the direction of Grand Funk Railroad, while Empire Of The Sun reeks of Humble Pie.

There’s a celebratory cohesion that puts Palace Of The King above and beyond being mundane blues rockers rehashing a faded past. Led by the thunderous vocals of Tim Henwood, who has the tone of a young Steve Marriott with hints of Chris Robinson, this band drive with unleashed joy. It helps that Sean Johnston adds expansive keyboard passages, but the overall impact is that of stylish individuals locked in a timeless embrace.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.