Kyng find grandiosity in simplicity. The Los Angeles outfit may only boast three members—Eddie Veliz [vocals/guitar], Pepe Clarke [drums], and Tony Castaneda [bass/backup vocals]—but their collective roar could easily tip the Southern California Richter Scale. On their second full-length album and first for Razor & Tie, Burn The Serum, the trio harks back to the essence of heavy rock ‘n’ roll, forging thunderous percussion to lightning hot riffs driven by a divine vocal howl. At the same time, they keep their eyes wide open towards the future.
Breaking out of the City of Angels in 2011, the group’s debut Trampled Sun landed shining critical acclaim for its “California Heavy” sound merging the metallic meanderings of Soundgarden and Queens of the Stone Age with the timeless scope of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. They hit the road with everybody from The Sword and Clutch to Trivium and Megadeth—even being picked to play at Metallica’s first-ever Orion Music + More festival. However, everything was merely leading up to Burn The Serum.
“We literally started working on Burn The Serum as soon as we finished the first album,” says Veliz. “We built on the foundation we had. It’s a balance of heavy riffing and these big melodic vocals. It sits between metal and a rock ‘n’ roll. You can’t put your finger on it. It’s just what Kyng does.”
To preserve what “Kyng does”, the band joined producers Jim Rota of Fireball Ministry fame and Andrew Alekel at Grandmaster Studios in Los Angeles during early 2013. The production team encouraged the musicians to unfurl this unbridled energy further.
“Working with them was a blast,” the frontman goes on. “These dudes literally know anything and everything you need to know about this kind of music. They can point out exact tones recorded on Bark At The Moon. It was a learning experience for us. They helped us refine the sound, pulling things back and keeping it as tasteful as possible. It’s very musical as a result.”
The first single “Electric Halo” serves as shining proof. The guitar buzzes with an ominous wall of distortion before lighting up a soaring refrain that hits impressive heights and showcases the vocalist’s dynamic range.
“When we were writing it, we asked, ‘What would Tony Iommi do?’,” laughs Veliz. “That was the mindset. Lyrically, it’s about those people you meet who will be the sweetest little things to your face, but they turn around and stab you in the back. They turn on that halo of sweetness to get what they need from you. Once they turn it off, they’re no longer angels. Instead, they cut you and stab you in the name of what they can take for themselves.”
With more robust riff-age and pummeling drums, “Sewn Shut” tells a harrowing true story of a friend whose eyes were literally sewed closed after a horrific accident, while “In The Land of Pigs” serves as an account of the trials and tribulations of the music industry and life on the road. Expanding in cinematic fashion, the title track decrees a plea to an addict with a vibrant visual.
“It initially came from this crazy argument I had in my family life,” reveals Veliz. “It was a tough one to write because it was really personal. This is the story. Someone’s blatantly addicted to something. It’s breaking them in half and making them fall apart. You ask them for the truth, and they can’t say it. Everything is destroyed and this person doesn’t care.”
That heaviness remains encoded in the group’s very moniker. “In the beginning, Kyng was just a name,” the singer concludes. “Now, it’s about honesty in music though. We try to be honest with ourselves so people want to listen to us for a long time to come. We want to take you back to an older era when bands didn’t need all of the bells and whistles. At the same time, we’re taking you down our own path to that place.”