When The Doomsday Clock reaches midnight, we hit the apocalypse. That’s the broad point  – and a couple of days ago, the group of scientists that are in charge of it, moved it closer to 12 than ever before.  Put it this way, Iron Maiden are clearing their throats.

Fitting then, that King 810 chose this week to release a surprise EP. Because, if the world is heading to the end of days, there is no more fitting soundtrack than David Gunn and the rest of the band.

“I am from a place that makes hell look like luxury” he intones (you can’t call it singing) on “Brains On The Asphalt” and that’s about the tone for the record.

If Korn were soundtracking purgatory, while the Joker character from the latest Batman film was supplying the focal point, then you’re somewhere close to the five songs here. Indeed, can you even describe them as songs? Widescreen slices of hell maybe? Whether its aiming at social media, whether its life in general, its bleak, violent and nasty, but like “Widdershins”, you try and ignore it. It’s never less than compelling.

The reason for this being an EP rather than the usual album is down to Gunn being mentally unstable. He describes this as “[a] smaller groups of frenzied schizophrenic fits.” And that’s accurate. Like “Holy War” proves, this is monstrously heavy, but is it “metal”? Instead like “Isobel” it is capable of real melody, and if the delivery is unique, then its only because no one else could get inside this maelstrom.

It saves the best for last. The sound of “Say Cheese And Die” is almost jaunty, as it swipes at “me me, me, me” culture but as its chorus (and it’s a real hook) points out: “I have it on good faith, we’re living our last days.” And the best thing about , ‘K5: Follow My Tears’  is it offers no light at the end of the tunnel, because maybe at the pit of despair there is none?

This might be the only record that sounds like this in 2023 (although Gunn  is promising a series of EPs from the 50 songs he’s written) and you can perhaps be glad about that, but the sound of unremitting bleakness and the crushing weight of existence never sounded more harrowing.

Rating 8/10

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