King of Heck turns cliché into niche with debut album ‘Shine In My Chest’

Joel Thompson

Ripping onto the scene with their debut album is newly formed psychedelic punk-rock band King of Heck.

Formerly, the group was united under the name Alaska, which was a hardcore punk band inspired by the likes of La Dispute, Touché Amoré and other mid-2000s hardcore bands. However, as King of Heck, the band takes influences of ’90s punk and rock, 2000s emo music and shoegaze of the 2010s and fuses all of them together into an aggressive and emotional rollercoaster ride of rock and roll.


While King of Heck wears its influences on its sleeves, it doesn’t fall into their clichés. King of Heck takes inspiration and makes something unheard of before; their sound is instantly classic but also entirely new. Somehow the album synthesizes the perfect mix of old punk-rock styles with the heart and emotion of midwestern emo, the complexities of math rock and the atmosphere and airiness of shoegaze and dream pop music.

The album tricks you into being less than it is. The majority of “Shine In My Chest” is a head-banging collision of aggressive vocals, brutally honest lyrics, major ripping on guitar, steady yet intricate drum beats and a bass that finds you in all the quiet moments in between. The way King of Heck transitions from periods of anger to moments of quiet emotion is nearly flawless. Every aspect of this album serves to bring the listener into the world of the songs: a dreamy but brutal atmosphere where everything can be solved by raging with your best friends.

Each song has a distinct emotional tone and style that it accomplishes, such as “Sup Doc” and “BB Bricked Out,” which show the most consistent speed and aggression of all the songs. The ending track, “Finally,” is atmospheric, heavy and engulfing. Stylistically, it’s entirely different than the rest of the album. However, its hazy feeling somehow fits after such an energetic album.

The weakest part of this album seems to be how short it is. When first listened to, it goes by too fast. It feels like King of Heck could’ve made an entire 12-song album, despite its seven-track length. The artistic quality and the world the album creates in such a short time creates a desire for more. Within that little time, however, King of Heck produces a collection of songs that will grab on and never let go.

Combating the short length is the ease of listen-ability that this album offers. The transitions between songs are satisfying and cause repeated listens to occur unknowingly. Particularly, the transition from the final song, “Finally,” to the first song,” Sup Doc,” helps solidify the completeness of this album. There are many small details within “Shine In My Chest” that help create a sense a wholeness in the record.

King of Heck developed an album that exists on another plane of music. On one hand, the album is a beautiful amalgamation of its precursors and its contemporaries, but on the other, it’s something entirely its own.


Best Tracks: “BB Bricked Out,” “3AM,” “I Still Want to Go,” “Shine In My Chest.”

Worst Tracks: None

Joel Thompson can be reached at or on Twitter @probably_joel.