Category: King’s X

King’s X – King’s X

ARTIST: King’s X                       220px-kings_x_self_titled

TITLE:  King’s X

YEAR RELEASED: 1992

CHART ACTION: #138 US, #46 UK

SINGLES: Black Flag (#17 Mainstream Rock), Dream in My Life, World Around Me

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Lost in German, Prisoner.

LINEUP: Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: King’s X eschews the longer concept album with a more direct song-oriented approach, and succeeds but still get little but cult attention.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For their fourth album as King’s X, the trio decided to can the album long themes and stories, and concentrate on more direct songwriting. It’s a definite success, as tracks like “Prisoner” and “Lost in Germany’ show. Those two tracks weren’t released to single or radio, for some damn reason.

There’s a bit more aggression in some tracks, which are sweetened by their natural harmonies, and of course, plenty of great playing – utilizing fancy schmancy chords and structures without being ponderous or flashy.

This was probably the pinnacle of King’s X as a commercial entity, and it still was criminally underheard. They weren’t fitting into grunge much like they didn’t fit into hair metal. Alas. But they still had the songs and the chops.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was their last album with Sam Taylor as their producer.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A:  Yes, I’m a King’s X fan, but this is just a darn good record, and they definitely show versatility here.

King’s X – Faith Hope Love

ARTIST: King’s X Faith_hope_love_album_cover

TITLE:  Faith Hope Love

YEAR RELEASED: 1990

CHART ACTION: #85 US, #70 UK

SINGLES: It’s Love (#6 US Rock), I’ll Never Get Tired of You, We Are Finding Who We Are

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None

LINEUP: Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: King’s X finds their groove, releasing their most commercial record without diminishing what they do best.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: King’s X struck it rich, as it were, with “It’s Love”, a wonderful metally dose of ear candy with great harmonies and musicianship. That song encapsulates King’s X to a “T”.

Most of Faith Hope Love fits in a similar vein. Harmonies comingle with riffs and chords that aren’t your normal metal progressions nor rhythms. For the most part, the whole album works well. But at over an hour, it does get a bit long near the end as songs that are somewhat similar are lined up next to another.

The final song, “Legal Kill” is an anti-abortion song that also tries to listen to the other side of the debate (more so than most pro-life groups). That song and the positive message (and faith) of King’s X propelled this album to the Christian Music charts, even if they most all of the songs were not overtly Christian.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Six Broken Soldiers” contains the first lead vocals for drummer Jerry Gaskill, though he is a significant part of their vocal style.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: It’s consistent, and the first 2/3 are fairly varied. They got an airplay hit without compromising, which is always a good thing.

 

 

King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

ARTIST: King’s X 220px-King's_X_Gretchen_Goes_to_Nebraska

TITLE:  Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

YEAR RELEASED: 1989

CHART ACTION: #123 US, #52 UK

SINGLES: Over My Head, Summerland

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I am fascinated why King’s X never got airplay.

LINEUP: Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Metal trio’s second album is a successful record and combines serious chops, poignant themes and interesting song structures.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The spiritual side of King’s X comes front and center with this fantastic album. The hooks of songs like “Over My Head” help give their message a platform that all music lovers can appreciate. The beauty of “Pleiades” gives that song a poignancy past its lyrics.

Even though King’s X was ostensibly a Christian-oriented band, they were not above criticizing the religious in “Mission”, and in other places they question religion’s place in society.

Musically, it’s challenging as King’s X isn’t just content with power chords and burning solos. They’re lumped into metal, but there’s a beauty and artistry, a soft and delicate touch not found so much in the then popular hair-metal. It’s a brainy record that you can also air guitar to.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The album title was given to the band by a roadie as a joke when they were talking about preposterous album titles.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A: A powerful, gorgeous record.

King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet

ARTIST: King’s X 220px-Out_of_the_silent_planet_album_cover

TITLE:  Out of the Silent Planet

YEAR RELEASED: 1988

CHART ACTION: #144

SINGLES: Goldilox, King, Shot of Love

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Fans, do

LINEUP: Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Long-time band mates find a unique sound and voice and it’s unique sonic elements finds an audience among sophisticated rock fans.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The trio known as King’s X had been in the business of making music for years, struggling to find their niche and voice. When they hit on the sound that soon became the King’s X signature, they knew that was the way to go.

This album sets the stage for several that follow. It has mystical and spiritual elements to the music, a great sense of melody and harmony, enough riffs to please the metal heads and most of all, a great sense of musicianship. They have a very sophisticated sound, incorporating a lot of classical motifs and complicated chord structures, but present them in a very user friendly way.

Many of the songs on this album, though, don’t have a really memorable element that stays with the listener afterwards. It’s got a lot of great elements, and sounds great. It just doesn’t have that tune you remember two days later. “Sometimes” may be the exception.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Five years earlier, they released a record as the band Sneak Preview. It was as generic of an 80’s record as it could be, allegedly. It’s very hard to find now, as the band itself destroyed a lot of the copies of the record.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  No

GRADE: B+: I really like the band and the sound, but I’m not bowled over by this one in the whole. Still, I’d take it over most every metal album of the era.