The Welsh outfit known as King Kraken blew this writer away by means of their inspired and incredibly well-written debut offering titled MCLXXX, which was released in late January this year, and few albums are as heavy and memorable as this one. There is passion in spades to be found in each song and every syllable that appear on this self-released opus of theirs, and while everything from Black Sabbath to Clutch and further on to Mastodon and Black Stone Cherry come to mind when immersing oneself in the band’s thunderous and punchy tunes, the record undoubtedly possesses a uniqueness and identity of its own. Eternal Terror Live caught up with the five gentlemen from Cardiff to get the lowdown on all things King Kraken and MCLXXX.

Greetings, how are you guys doing? For those headbanging souls and lovers of all things heavy out there who are not familiar with the history of King Kraken and your superb debut album titled MCLXXX, could you briefly tell us a bit about how the band came into existence, where you guys all met, and why you decided on crafting some thunderous tunes together? What motivated you to launch King Kraken in the first place and were all of you active playing in other bands and so on prior to that? Is every member based in or around Cardiff?

K.K: We’re very well thanks and looking forward to the release of MCLXXX on Friday 27th January. 

The band was formed by Pete after leaving his previous band, which had become stagnant. He started jamming with Karl, they then invited Richard on drums. This was working so well from the off that they put out an advert, initially for a singer, and then finally a lead guitarist and vocalist (Adam and Mark).

We had all been playing in other bands, although I don’t think any of them were active at the time that King Kraken was formed. Ironically, even though we state we’re from Cardiff sometimes (for the sake of simplicity), none of us live in Cardiff, we’re scattered across South Wales. 

I was blown away by the power and memorable qualities of MCLXXX and I find it an incredibly inspired and inspiring listen. What are your thoughts on it now that you have had some time to “live with the songs”, if that makes sense? Fans and critics are loving the record and each review that I have come across is glowing – that must feel pretty darn good.

K.K.: We’d gone through a few phases in terms of listening back to the album. Initially when it was recorded, and were surprised at how well it had turned out, but this turned into some intense, forensic listening whilst we were getting the mixing stage finished. After that, we had to take a bit of a break from listening to it, because we’d spent so much time listening for things to improve the experience. We’ve been absolutely blown away by the reaction to the songs and album by critics and fans. Astonishing and so grateful. 

Is there a subtle theme or idea underlying the whole album and what exactly does the title MCLXXX connote and mean in relation to the song lyrics? 

K.K.: Regarding the title, the date 1180 is the first documented sighting of a Kraken, so we felt that would be an appropriate 1st album moniker for us. In terms of lyrical themes throughout the album, it’s very horror film based; you won’t find the traditional spring/summer/autumn love songs on here, or even the winter ones! 

With respect to composing and arranging song material for King Kraken, who exactly does what in the band and is it a collaborative effort in the overall perspective? 

K.K.: As a rule of thumb, a King Kraken song will start with a riff from Pete or Karl. This will tend to be jammed out and either immediately disregarded or developed into a collection of riffs. The songs then tend to develop over the course of several practises with Mark delivering elaborate and intricate lyrics and usually the songs mutate after being played live a few times. 

I am curious as to what bands and musicians serve as an influence on King Kraken’s sound and vibe. One thing is what the promotional info states, but what acts out there would you say serve as a collective source of inspiration to every member of King Kraken? 

K.K.: There’s not really any band that serves as an overall collective influence in this band. We have some quite varied personal influences and combine them to come up with our sound. We think that people might be surprised at the actual melting pot of influences we have, and maybe more so, the bands that some of us really don’t like . . .

What is next for you gentlemen in the grand scheme of things? It would be brilliant to see King Kraken tour Europe at some point. Any shows and tours planned for this year – either in the UK or abroad? And have you started thinking about a follow-up to MCLXXX

K.K.: Funnily enough, we have started talking recently about album number two, which seems strange considering that the first one isn’t even out yet! That will be something that we aim for in 2024 I’d imagine. Gig wise, we have some good festival appearances coming up in the UK this spring/summer – Wildfire and Call of the Wild to name two. We played our first European gig last year at Hard Rock Hell Ibiza, and another date or two on the continent wouldn’t go amiss once the album is released . . .

Thanks once again for your time and best of luck with your future musical endeavours. You guys are awesome!

K.K.: Thanks so much for your support, it’s very appreciated.


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