Every once in a while, we all find that band or record that just gets us. Everyone has their own preferences, of course, and we all know what those are. Ever so rarely, we come across something that combines many of our likes together into something we can truly love. These tend to be niche sounds from bands without a ton of name recognition, which is exactly why you should always be digging through the weeds. You’re not going to find those really special bands on the Billboard 100. You have to dive deeply and headfirst into Bandcamp for it. I was very lucky to find one of those bands for myself in Everest Queen.
Everest Queen is a trio from Stevenage, UK. They have been developing an interesting sound over the course of six years and 2 EPs. It’s a unique combination of progressive songwriting, technical abilities, and big ol’ sludgy riffs. It has the rare ability to be both atmospheric and hard riff rocking, often times comingling in the same song. In a metal world where genres are continually blended and reformed into completely different sounds, Everest Queen is part of a vanguard of bands turning established sounds on their head.
Dead Eden provides a lot of that for you. In some ways, the record is very reminiscent of Mastodon. The guitars can be very densely fuzzy and riffy. However, the band forges their own path with some wonderfully spacious progressive sludge. In an unusual way, this record is both aggressively in your face and very spacious. Every track on here is given some space to breathe and be its own thing. This also gives the listener some space to wrap their heads around the tracks. Some of these tracks have a lot of complexity to them, and you’re allowed to ruminate on them.
The second track, “Blood That Binds the Iliad,” might be the best example of what Everest Queen can do. The song is really a journey of atmospheric and progressive sludge songwriting. There are passages here of extended riff droning that helps build an environmental quality to the track and lets you become lost in the meandering path. Each new passage shakes you up a bit and ensures your full attention of the track. Meanwhile, the vocals describe battlefields of war between forces of light and darkness. The album is of a truly epic scope with music to match it. For a debut album, it’s an incredible undertaking.
Dead Eden is the kind of record that can deeply connect with you. There’s something so natural about it. Much like any person, it has its moments of both great calm and uproarious energy. In that way, it’s very easy to connect to. You have times of sensory overload and also the time to think about and process what just happened. “Whoa, did you hear that? What even was that?!?” It’s perfectly fine to think that while listening to Everest Queen. Allow the great paradox to happen to you. You’ll enjoy the moments of fury and the moments of peace. It’s a new kind of Eden.