Review: King Buffalo ‘Acheron’

REVERB! It’s one of my favorite effects. I’ve tried a few different pedals and played with some built-in amp reverb. With each unique sound, my obsession grows, and I want to collect them all like Pokémon. (Sorry the kids are watching that as I write this.) I love King Buffalo’s sound, especially the spacey tones. With their new album Acheron, I’ve realized to achieve these massive sounds, I won’t need to buy a reverb pedal but an entire cave. This hobby is getting expensive.

King Buffalo 'Acheron'

A flowing stream from inside Howe Caverns is the perfect opening sound and as it fades behind the beautiful guitar work by Sean McVay. Instant chills. As Dan Reynolds and Scott Donaldson join in on bass and drums respectively, even more emotions are felt. One of those feelings was that of jealousy towards JJ Koczan. He got to experience the first song, titled Acheron, first hand inside the cave! Although technical difficulties, and a long load in, prevented him from hearing the remaining three songs, I bet it was an incredible experience.

At about ten minutes long, Acheron weaves between those beautiful soft, clean tones with a crunchy distortion that is multiplied as it bounces back off the cave walls. It’s such a full sound and as the distortion cuts out it echoes for seemingly eternity as McVay continues the single note picking. The dynamics are what I love most about King Buffalo as they take it to new heights by weaving serenity with sheer distorted power.

Zephyr starts off with a cool drumbeat by Donaldson with droning guitars and layered riffs on top. The music builds little by little and McVay’s voice becomes more intense leading up to a solo that has an insane tone with a lot more of that echoing. Again chills. I’m also fond of how it cuts out abruptly and back to the calm intro, but this time with some spacey vibes. One reason I love King Buffalo is how they completely switch up the song in the middle. With Zephyr, at five minutes in there is the gnarliest crunchy riff that continues with thundering drums and heavy bass. This goes on for a while, adding in a sweet solo, and then wraps up with the beginning of the song seamlessly.

three outstanding musicians have created a captivating song [Cerberus] that draws energy from the cave to the sound waves that hit your ear…

The rhythm section of the band really shines here. Shadows starts with a simple, yet awesome sounding, drumbeat using the kick and rim of the snare. Reynolds shows off a little here with a moving bass line. The spacey guitars aren’t far behind and are placed over top. One lyric McVay sings is ‘there’s no horizon’ and I know they aren’t singing about their career, but what they’ve put out this last year alone as King Buffalo has an endless horizon to travel.

Cerberus concludes this four, long song, album with the near ten-minute epic conclusion. The droning siren intro and psychedelic sounds blend into the background as the drums take the lead in the beginning. Then, the signature triplet palm muted riffs come flooding in towards the middle. The riff actually reminds me of the music playing during the car chase scene on The Matrix Reloaded (the only good part of that movie). These three outstanding musicians have created a captivating song that draws energy from the cave to the sound waves that hit your ear.

The Burden Of Restlessness is still on repeat for me but only to be bumped by Acheron now. The cave setting has elevated this album as the music is epic. I hope King Buffalo do a cave tour in the future and if they’re reading this, there’s a cave in Pelham, Tennessee called The Caverns that also happens to be a concert venue and I can provide any information they need to get that show booked!

Label: Stickman Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider