EP Review: Dead River Kings – Hymns of Hope and Despair (Nil by Mouth Recordings)

Dead River Kings are Mark O’Hare, Rich Heward, Jake Carr-Smith, Marc Walsh and Connor Turnbull, five individuals brought together by a mutual love for all things heavy metal and a common goal, to provide an anthem for the downtrodden.

The band were formed in early 2017 on the murky banks of the River Tees in the UK, an area known for its once bustling, and now dying industrial heartbeat. Influenced by all corners of rock music, from Black Sabbath to Dream Theatre, Tool to Def Leppard, the foundations were set through multiple discussions and meet ups.

After a handful of jam sessions, it became clear that the band’s sound was heading in one clear direction. A Down tuned, sludgy and uncompromising approach to song writing with a clear emphasis on the power of the riff. Couple this with catchy vocal hooks, untethered, frenetic drumming, earth shattering bottom end rumble and a triple headed guitar attack, Dead River Kings provide a fresh take on heavy music.

Their debut EP, Hymns of Hope and Despair will be released on April 6th 2019 via Nil by Mouth Recordings.

Sometimes, from the moment the first notes ring out, you already know you’re listening to something pretty good. That is exactly the case with Dead River Kings’ Hymns of Hope and Despair and the booming riff-tastic opener, God Die. The murky and grungy depths it sinks too is unfathomable yet impressively catchy none the less.

Such a great start is then backed up by a pair of ‘golden’ tracks in the form of Pipe of Gold and Spritual Gold. The former is a lighter form of sludge, taking a bit of weight out of the riffs but still sounding enormous thanks in part to the gruffness of the vocals. The latter is a continuation of the impressively high quality of riffs we’ve heard so far. Dead River Kings are absolutely killing it on this EP.

Four Words is the penultimate track and delivers a punchy and in your face level of sludgery with these absoluty wonderful injections of higher tempo rhythms. It’s a damn good shout for being the best track on the EP.

However, not to be outdone. Jaded and Blind certainly gives it a run for its money. Easily the most groove-infused track, this is one that gets the body moving in ways few could have ever expected. It’s so damn catchy while also being really heavy. The crux of this entire EP, something that ensures it’s one to remember.

Dead River Kings 1

Dead River Kings – Hymns of Hope and Despair Full Track Listing:

1. God Die
2. Pipe of Gold
3. Spiritual Gold
4. Four Words
5. Jaded and Blind

Head over to their Facebook Page and Instagram to find out more and keep up to date with news.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Dead River Kings - Hymns of Hope and Despair (Nil by Mouth Recordings)
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