I would be happy to just write a complete song one day, to come up with an original riff, and have my wife sing/play piano. Nothing crazy, just one complete original song. It’s hard though. Then, you have King Buffalo who write not one, but three full-length albums in one year. That’s right, three full-length albums. You would think there might be some filler songs, but not for King Buffalo. The first two albums were released last year and the third was pushed back to this year, which is a good thing because it was hard to choose between The Burden Of Restlessness and Acheron for my top ten list in 2021, this year will be easier with only one release. Thanks guys.
Regenerator concludes the ‘Pandemic Trilogy’ and will be released on September 2nd through Stickman Records in Europe and self-released in the US. The album art by Mike Del Rosario is fantastic and one of the many things I love about King Buffalo. They choose some fantastic artists and artwork to grace the covers of their albums. The art typically matches the soundscapes created within and makes for one complete work of art. But it’s the music that resonates with us making lifelong fans, so let’s talk about what’s tucked in the grooves of the vinyl.
Delay. Every time I think of it, I think of Sean McVay. Not just because they rhyme, but because I feel he has mastered that effect! The title track Regenerator starts the album with ambient sounds and McVay’s delay is exquisite. I also believe, now that I wrote it, McVay’s delay needs to be a signature pedal of his! What do you think, Stomp Under Foot? I’d buy it. Anyway, Regenerator is a moving song and a great opener. Dan Reynolds heavy bass accompanied by Scott Donaldson’s steady drums powers the song along, while McVay weaves in and out with varying solos.
Mercury is up next and Donaldson’s drumbeat stands out immediately to me. He’s got a lot going on and I have no idea how he does it with just two arms and two legs. It blends with the music perfectly however as it doesn’t get in the way of the song. Bass often is unheard or even overlooked. Not for King Buffalo because on Mercury, Reynolds takes the forefront with a catchy riff while calming the vibe. The distorted guitar kicks in after a while, launching the song into high gear and setting up for the powerful next song.
And Hours starts off strong. Unlike the clean delay build-ups on the prior songs, Hours jumps right into crisp distortion. The riff remains a constant for most of the song and just when you think you understand where it’s going, King Buffalo says ‘check this out’. The music stops and the drums switch gears slightly. Reynolds takes over the melody with another awesome bass line and McVay shows off some synth skills. A build-up of tension through synth is released as the band comes back together full circle, wrapping the song up the way is began.
thundering drums, booming bass, and distorted riffs come to an abrupt end, leaving a chill down your spine and letting you know you just witnessed something truly special…
Right smack in the middle of this seven-song album is track number four titled Interlude and it’s exactly that. A near three-minute guitar interlude with McVay playing a repeated fingerpicked riff, building intensity throughout and laying haunting vocals on top. I do wish it was longer, but I could say that about every song too.
Mammoth is first after the interlude and the groove sets in immediately. McVay’s vocals however stand out a lot more on this song than others for me. I’m not sure if it’s in the forefront of the mix more than previous songs, but whatever the reason, my ears are drawn to it more and it’s great. ‘…everyday I venture on, riding a mammoth through the snow…’ That’s just an awesome visual. The lyrics are deep in meaning and I’ll leave that for you to interpret on your own. The singing ceases after the one-minute mark leaving an insane five-minute musical outro that’s incredible.
Second to last is Avalon and the decaying reverb/delay is present and right up front as the clean chords ring out for eternity. The spacey sound fills the air and what I find especially grand is when the distortion kicks in, it still has that full reverb sound. The cavernous feel to this song makes me think it could have been added to the previous album, but I see why it’s here because it sets up the closing song perfectly.
Firmament is last up, but we still have nine plus minutes to soak in the beautiful song. Much like any good closer, this song builds to a strong ending. Firmament isn’t just closing an album, it’s closing a trilogy and King Buffalo put all they have into it, giving the ‘Pandemic Trilogy’ a proper send off. The thundering drums, booming bass, and distorted riffs come to an abrupt end, leaving a chill down your spine and letting you know you just witnessed something truly special.
Sadly, the trilogy has come to an end, but I believe King Buffalo has only just begun to wow its fans and we are in store for some incredible albums in the future! But for now, Regenerator will stay on my record player getting flipped from A to B for quite some time.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider