Critical Paths is the 3rd release by Lafayette Lousiana’s Raedon Kong. The duo of Stephen Sheppert (guitars/synths/vocals) and David Leonard (drums/vocals) have followed up their debut album We Are The Worms and subsequent self titled EP with a mesmerizing and powerful record. I immediately hear influential echoes of the obtuse doom styles of Salt Lake City band Eagle Twin mixed with a kitchen sink approach not unlike Boston band Elder. Album opener “Macerator” is as memorable as it is jarring. With such a powerhouse opening track it’s quite apparent very early on in this record that the songwriting chops are first rate. The band excel at switching feels and approaches seemlessly throughout. “Golden Churches” in particular exhibits the bands absolute knack for concocting unusual yet wholly engaging arrangements.
Given how similar some subgenres of metal can sound one can be excused for suspecting at that some point on Critical Paths that Raedon Kong could fall into the same trappings. The listener can rest assured however, that conventions are disregarded for risk taking and interesting musical choices.
Raedon Kong engage the listener with a hybrid of shapeshifting fluid drone, mixed with noisey sludge metal. Whether intentional or otherwise there are hints of Canadian prog metal legends Voivod scattered throughout Critical Paths. This record is literally stuffed full of uplifting and tuneful passages. In particular the final piece on the album “Reflections in Time”, showcases the bands effortless songwriting chops It begins with a serene and lilting guitar phrase in an odd time signature which morphs into a crushing doom riffing. Raedon Kong’s staggering compositional skills met with their ability to execute their ideas exceptionally well on record are the forces that will continue to push them towards elite status in the heavy music community.
Label: Hell Comes Home
Release Date: November 6h, 2015
Favorite Tracks: “Macerator”, “Golden Churches”, “Reflections Through Time”,
For Fans Of: Eagle Twin, Helm’s Alee, Elder, Voivod.