Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Keys For The Kingdom

Local rock fans, we meet again to embark on some fresh talent for your ears. I appreciate all of the positive feedback I’ve been getting that you are digging the bands spotlighted; keep throwing your suggestions at me!

I’ve been noticing more and more groups based on their enthusiasm, for if they believe in themselves, it’s way more convincing for me to like them as well. That may sound crazy to some, but if you aren’t feeling your own music, no one else is going to feel it either. On that note, I received a message from the band I am about to tell you about, and they had such an infectious energy that I almost felt compelled to listen. They didn’t describe their sound too much, but let off a confidence as if they almost knew I would write this article (sneaky devils, you are). This was another unexpected surprise for me, and in a very fine way. This act goes by the name of Keys For The Kingdom, and it’s the creation of four young musicians who have found their tread and have the potential to impress.

Hailing from Montgomery, NJ, Keys For The Kingdom are doing very well in their local area. I don’t have a crazy backstory on them, nor do I know if they really have the keys to the kingdom; all I know is I am feeling their style. I must admit, however, that their name somewhat reminded me of Mario Kart for Nintendo 64, but that’s just my inner 12-year-old self shining through once again. Their new album, White Noise, was just released last month. They also have another EP under their belt entitled Those Who Stand Alone. However, this new release is definitely different and takes things in a new direction.

Keys For The Kingdom play hard rock while also throwing in some pop punk, making for a delicious blend. I can honestly and oddly enough say that I love both sides of their music. Doing two different kinds of genres on one album is what attracts me to this band. Noticeable diverse elements set them apart from so many of their contemporaries. I really like Brian Stiroh’s clean voice, while the hard vocals are entertaining as well. He pours his heart and soul into each song. The drum beats pump me up, and the guitar riffs and breakdowns are striking. There’s enough variety in the songs to please most fans of this eclectic group. Members hold their own, fitting together like a puzzle. For having listened to their old and new material all at once, it seems like they’re making an attempt to reach a greater audience; to try and “make it,” if you will. I mean this in a positive way, for they are expanding their sound in attempts to expand their fanbase. After all, we shouldn’t expect an act to put out the same kind of music over and over again. Bands continually evolve and get better, which is evident with this new CD. “Can’t Explain” and “To Blame” are my two personal favorite tracks in their discography. I know that some people may say it’s been done before, but these guys really do have a lot of talent, and I am rooting for them.

I have yet to see Keys For The Kingdom live, but hopefully that will change in the near future. With the energy I get from their recorded tracks, I am confident that their shows take it to a whole new level. Hopefully they will be announcing a list of tour dates for the summer! With a large, interactive fanbase on socials, it seems as if I’m not the only one wanting more from this band. They are doing it right by running contests on their page, making posts that are open to fan forum conversation, and hitting each supporter right where they need to be hit. I believe they may have even landed a clothing endorsement deal, which is just another step in the right direction. They can go from downright brutal to melodic and catchy within a three-minute time span. What’s the summary they have left me with? It’s simple: They put this album together superbly from beginning to end, throwing everything they can at you. While you’re at it, be sure to check out their music video for “To Blame,” as it has great production quality and somewhat tells the story of the band. Plus, putting a visual to a song can make you enjoy it more.

I’ll be back next week with some more artists that I am feeling, so keep supporting your scene. I know we all tend to think that the only way to gain access to music these days is via the internet and YouTube, and it’s understandable. After all, there are so many alternatives nowadays aside from buying a CD at a show. But what we cannot forget is that all of the bands out there start in a local scene, playing to people like you in small clubs. Sometimes I hear people saying the scene is dead, but I have to disagree. There is a show almost every night in my backyard and something that you can attend no matter what you’re into. Think about it: How could a scene be dead if there are so many ways to be entertained? So let us continue this tradition and try to get some of these acts that have superior talent the attention they deserve. I will always be an avid supporter of local artists and venues, so jump on board with me!