King Dude: Tonight’s Special

King Dude

Tonight’s Special

(Avant! Records)


Highly melancholic, muddy and gloomy – the essence of the darkest of autumns approaching. ‘Tonight’s Special Death’ is just this, a metaphorical dreary sky, which scares us, but at the same time attracts us to it. It may be due to the baritone vocals, it may be the use of just an acoustic guitar and a couple of other devices, it may be the atmosphere it conveys – these tracks are somehow captivating, also one year after the first release of this gem of folk noir, King Dude.

TJ Cowgill is a beardy, obscure man from Seattle, whom the metalheads will know for being vocalist in the black metal band Book of Black Earth. Even without the growling and the screaming, Cowgill decided to create an unsettling and apocalyptic atmosphere, recording 100 CD-r of some minimalist folk noir. Released in 2010, the album became quite a sensation on the Net, as a perfect mix of apocalyptic tracks and folk ballads (yep, there is also some Dylan in all of this). Avant! Records reissued the album, this time as an LP adding some bonus tracks and a disturbing (and highly expressive) artwork.

The LP is alternating dark ballads (‘White Hands’,‘Designs’) and some apocalyptic-esoteric  tracks (‘Slaves’, ‘My Everlasting Life II’). King Dude crafted some spells, which baffle and bewitch the listener, like in ‘Witch’s Hammer’ and the noisier ‘No one is Here’ – also winking at some pagan rituals (‘Rivers of Gold’).

Creating some atmosphere, which can remind of November, Of the Wand & the Moon and Empyrium, Tonight’s Special Death’ is an album that needs to be rediscovered, both by folk-loving metalheads, and some intrepid folk connoisseurs,  who will learn to appreciate the dark folk ambient territories.


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