[Review] Excalibur – KINGDOM

As mentioned in the last review, I will be focusing on two new debuts from this week. I have already covered TRI.BE’s debut single in the mentioned review. Today, I will be focusing on a newly debuted male group, KINGDOM. They are a new group under GF Entertainment and is made up of seven members (Dann, Louis, Chiwoo, Arthur, Ivan, Mujin, Jahan). Dann and Arthur were previous members of VARSITY. An interesting and unique concept with the group members is that their stage names are based on historic kings from across the world. KINGDOM made their debut on Thursday with the single, Excalibur, and the mini-album, History Of Kingdom : PartⅠ. Arthur.

There seems to be a bit within Excalibur. For some songs, that could be a compliment. But in Excalibur‘s case, this description is not as positive as it could have been. Let’s break the song down, starting off with the members. While Excalibur does show that the members can perform, it felt overly ambitious at the same time. Some of the vocal work felt strained, while other parts could have been more polished to feel cleaner and clearer. I also felt the vocal department didn’t offer anything new to the industry, which leaves them less memorable to me. Nor was there anything impressive to wow me. The rapping faired a little better. But overall, there was a consistent plainness that came from the members. Similarly, the song doesn’t have much of a strong hook. There were good moments within the song, but they were brief ‘moments’ and nothing like what a ‘strong hook’ should be like. Those good moments are mainly there due to the instrumentation. I felt that the producers managed to showcase an epic vibe within the sound of the song quite well. But unfortunately, the epic vibes were pretty much concentrated during the pre-chorus, where the background inclines using organs and gripping energy. It is also quite unfortunate that the producers reverted to a very plain use of EDM for the chorus. There was so much potential for the chorus to be so much more dynamic. The bridge is a bit more interesting, using a wobbling-like synth effect which I haven’t heard of before. I also liked how it grew faster, which was very different. Overall, Excalibur was ambitious that didn’t feel like it was well-executed. There were some positives about the song that I was glad to still enjoy. But it seems like the song’s negative aspects outweighs its positives.

The visual concept behind this group might be one of the biggest positives of the debut as a whole. As the mini-album is centered around King Arthur, the main character for this music video is Arthur himself. Furthermore, the song is titled after King Arthur’s infamous sword. So clearly this makes the most sense. You can see each member representing the king that has been assigned to them by their stage name throughout the video. All join forces to defeat whoever is trying to kill Arthur and all pay their respect to King Arthur at the end of the video when he finally sits on his throne. While I did like the visual concept, I am not keen on their outfits. They seemed overkill and felt like the stylist got too carried away with the chains. I also would like to see whether they will focus on each king/member in their subsequent releases. It will be interesting to see a different story being told, especially after they went with the most obvious story of a king battling to reclaim his throne. I am hoping they don’t repeat the same story another six times, just revisualised to fit the background of the king in focus. It does seem like we will be seeing the Chinese king, Chiyou, in the next video based on the ending.

KINGDOM made the plain EDM chorus turn into a powerful piece thanks to the choreography. That is quite a feat! On top of that the performance looks quite good. The choice to use swords and so many backup dancers really paid off, even though both sound very risky. It helps bring the visual concept to life on the stage, expanding the comeback in a very clever manner. However, them posing with the swords at the end felt a little corny for my liking.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

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