Meeting of the Minds
Heavy Kingdom is a project of mutual appreciation. This first collaboration between doom metal guitarist Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich and German songwriter Conny Ochs is raw and relentlessly dark, an acoustic piece that reflects both artists’ influences. Kingdom isn’t Wino’s first foray into that territory, but it’s a strong, passion-packed album—made that much stronger by Ochs’s significant presence.
Heavy Kingdom makes it seem as if the two joined forces effortlessly. Although they take turns in the limelight, Wino and Ochs have created a remarkably fluid record. Part of the cohesion comes from the album’s tone: it never moves too far beyond grim intensity, eerie chords or dark subject matter. First track “Somewhere Nowhere,” for example, is sparse and foreboding—the ‘somewheres’ fade into silence, the harmonies are open and brooding. Even songs like “Vultures By the Vines,” a semi-electric number, maintains the mood while bumping up the energy. A cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Highway Kind” is a perfect addition to the eleven-track album: it captures the artists’ meeting of the minds, and showcases both their vocals.
Heavy Kingdom isn’t meant to be groundbreaking; it’s meant to highlight two musicians who clearly see eye to eye. Everything about the album feels natural, and it’s no surprise that it grew out of a tour—Wino and Ochs jammed on the road, and their sound just clicked. Heavy Kingdom isn’t glossy, isn’t pieced together with studio precision and that’s just fine. These two have passion, and that’s what makes the album a success.