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King's X
XV

Company: Metal Blade
Release: 2008
Reviewer: Al Kikuras
Genre: Hard Rock, progressive rock
Rating
4.5



  • Another jewel in the crown of one of the greatest rock bands of all time



  • I'm the world's biggest King's X supporter, but not the biggest fan of all of their records. Kind of like King Diamond, post-Conspiracy (maybe it has something to do with the name?). I will always respect both acts. Always support them live and buy the records. But a King's X album hasn't thrilled me aside from Dogman and the recent Dogman-era live disc, Live and Live Some More. (And, for the record, King Diamond hasn't released a great album since Conspiracy. Some of the albums since were pretty good [The Eye, The Puppet Master], forgettable [Spider's Lullaby, Voodoo, Abigail II], or regrettable [Give Me Your Soul... Please].)

    And I know there are those of you that worship everything King's X have done. And you won't get an argument here. Each album is a fine piece of work, and had I never heard Dogman, I'd probably be drooling over Gretchen Goes to Nebraska or Faith, Hope, Love like I do over Dogman. But Dogman, brothers and sisters. This is an album that is unlike any other. It is their Sgt. Peppers. Their Reign In Blood. Their Into the Pandemonium. Their Number of the Beast. THE album.

    Why do I say this? It's THE EDGE. Having been blessed enough to see King's X live twice, THE EDGE is a part of their live show. The unpolished sound. The teeth that the slick production of many King's X records glosses over. Granted, the band is very polished in the live setting. Impeccable, even. But that raw live sound...the grit in the guitars, the growl of the 12-string bass, THE EDGE that was so prevalent on Dogman. That heavier sound that King's X has in the live arena was captured so well on that record and on the aforementioned 2-disc Live and Live Some More, where I find myself kneeling at the altar of King's X songs that otherwise might not have hit me with quite the ferocity they on the original recordings, is missing from so much of their discography.

    So, when I first listened to XV and heard the bass sound that opens the album with "Pray," (incidentally, a song as good as any the band has penned), my jaw dropped. HERE it was. The King's X I love. THE EDGE. The hair on my arms stood up. I listened to the song three times before moving on to the rest of the record... something I NEVER do. I so did not want "Pray" to end, or the rest of the album to not stand up, that I was afraid to move on.

    When I finally mustered up the courage and did, "Blue" did not disappoint. Doug Pinnick further solidifies his place as one of the underrated great singers. Never has a rock singer sounded so genuine. A simple song, one that was just waiting to be written. King's X pulled it out of thin air. The song is saturated with immediacy, just asking to be loved. And you can't help but do just that.

    The album rolls on..."Repeating Myself" is sung by guitarist Ty Tabor, who manages to deftly avoid the Noel Redding curse of making you instantly want to skip over the songs he sings. "Rocket Ship" is next. I think this was the "single" so to speak. Or, at least the song King's X saw as much of a single as they'd have. Ironically, it shows the first kink in XV's armor. While the verse is thick, dark and heavy, the chorus sounds almost saccharine by comparison. Now on to "Julie." Another Tabor-sung song that calls heavily to The Beatles (think darker numbers like "I Want You") and a touch of Wings. Another good tune. "Alright" picks things up next, an upbeat and rocking number that brings the mood right into the stratosphere from the melancholy depths of "Julie."

    Need I go on? Song to song? I hope not. I feel like I could, but you must be tired of reading by now. XV is a GREAT record. Does it do for me what Dogman does? No, but it comes closer than any other King's X record, and is another jewel in the crown of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. See them live. Buy the record. Show the world that good music still matters, and put another dollar or two in the pockets of a band that deserves ten million more.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: KINGS X
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Live All Over The PlaceKings X
    2004
    Vinaya Saksena3/4/2005
    Ogre TonesKings X
    2005
    Ken Pierce10/3/2005
    XVKings X
    2008
    Al Kikuras7/11/2008
    XVKings X
    2008
    Kim Thore5/30/2008


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: KINGS X

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: KINGS X
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    dUg PinnickKings XKim Thore6/4/2008
    Ty TaborKings XKim Thore4/1/2010


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