The world’s a brutal place. Although there remain a ton of varying perspectives on the appropriate path forward — and even on the present, really — few would probably argue the opener. That brutality has proven dynamic to the point of forging King Nine’s 2018 full length Death Rattle, out November 16 via Closed Casket Activities.
The record comes some five years after the band’s debut Scared to Death, but in the intervening time, it’s not as though situations softened. For plenty of people, they got worse.
“Most of the record is just about in life everybody has to face this anger — whether it be around them in everyday society, or with themselves, or with certain specific people or whatever it is,” vocalist Dan Seely says. “It’s just always around us. No matter what you do, and no matter how everybody tries to be positive, you just have to face that there’s cause to be angry and hateful all around you every day.”
Death Rattle reflects this crushing reality, offering a simultaneously understanding and confrontational hand. The anger that Seely talks about isn’t just outwardly directed, since in the midst of this mess we call home, most to all of us walk around with a mess inside.
“It’s very obvious like in the song that we just put out, ‘Gift of Life,’ you can tell that it’s just about everything around us,” Seely explained soon after the single released. “It’s about the anger and the hatred that we have towards the world around us — but there are songs on the record that come from a very personal place of anger and not just like a broader perspective. There’s a song on the record called ‘Second Nature’ that is about my personal problems that I have.”
There’s a certain cathartic experience available via rushing straight ahead into pain poised for a confrontation. At the same time, though, even that idea might be taking the experience too far from reality. Often the way forward, via catharsis or otherwise, remains murky, and all that’s clear remains an impending thrill. King Nine draws from this murky spring of inspiration, crafting their music that plugs in.
They’ve been unable to take their music as far and wide as they might like thanks to the same realities of life that they draw from when writing. In short, everyone in the band’s got a full time job, and embarking on weeks to months long tours doesn’t exactly pair with that set-up easily, to Seely’s dismay.
At least though, he notes, there remain an array of festivals around that will have them, allowing not just the fans a chance at a unique music experience but the musicians as well, in this case. Outside of the festival circuit, King Nine aim to hit some big hot spots for heavy music, and their fans in particular, too.
They’ve been working at their music for awhile, perhaps lending it some extra apparent strength for the focused listener. Seely says he’s known drummer Brian Rutter since the two went to hardcore shows together as young teenagers, and King Nine first began to come together when Seely made it to his early 20s.
At this point, the band members — all of whom Seely says he’s happy to know as longtime friends and not just fellow musicians — have mostly all passed the 30 years old mark.
Them remaining plugged in has something to say about the inescapable, confrontational, and powerful nature of their music itself.
“It’s kind of crazy because when we wrote Scared to Death we were all way younger,” Seely says. “We were in our early to mid-twenties, and now most of the band is 30 or almost 30, so the maturity in the songs I think really comes through. The songs themselves sort of just sound more mature and they sound more angry, as stupid as that may sound. It’s such a cliche thing to say, but they just sound and feel more angry and more mature and almost more fed up with the way things go.”
They’re hardly alone in noting progressions of events worth being fed up over. The band’s music taps into a lasting — and open ended — drive that gives it some real staying power.
“We’re always trying to capture a sense of — I hate to say it but — chaos in the way we write our music — and everything, whether it be actual music or lyrics. There isn’t a real specific like oh, New York hardcore in this era sort of sound that we really want to go for. It’s more or less just — we want everything to be genuine from us. We want to write it and not try to emulate a sound or emulate a certain era. It’s more so just the mood — we want to write this music so you can feel the same mood that we feel when we’re writing it, and when you hear it, you feel that exact thing. From my perspective, everything we write, we want to hear it and we want to be pissed off that we’re hearing it.”
Photo via Rebecca Lader
Listen below via Spotify