I had a brief love affair with King’s X back in the early 1990’s. Specifically, the Faith, Hope, Love and King’s X pair of albums. I was still early in my musical discovery, and I just loved that thick melodic sound that they were able to achieve, plus Doug Pinnick’s soulful vocals. It’s a sound that is unlike anything I had heard at that point. I have seen them live a couple of times of the past few years, which has been great, but I haven’t gotten any of their new music until now. The Ogre Tones are upon us.
After my first pass through, I found another great collection of songs. The melody was there, the grooves were still solid, Doug’s voice still had that soul, and it still had a sound that I haven’t heard from any other band. The songs start strong with “Alone” and build on through to “Bebop” where Doug’s vocals take center stage and peak in soulful groove. That is followed up with “Honesty,” a quiet introspective acoustic piece sung by guitarist Ty Tabor. The groove picks back up for the second half of the album with tracks like “Get Away” and “Mudd.”
I listened a few more times, and something became apparent, while the melody and tight musicianship was there, the sound was different. It didn’t have that same thickness that those older albums had. Comparing this to Faith, Hope, Love, they both have some great song writing and performances, but the overall sound is vastly different. The new album loses a good portion of the tone that was achieved on those early albums, this one sounds a bit hollow by comparison.
I don’t want to speak ill of the album, because outside of that general hollowness it is actually a good album. Just don’t take it as the best example of what they can sound like. Ogre Tones does feature some fine playing. Jerry Gaskill is a solid drummer, not flashy but very steady with some nice flourishes. Ty Tabor’s playing is also strong, if only his sound came across bigger like on past albums. Lastly there is Doug Pinnick who plays a decent base and has a soulful voice which is almost as much the band’s signature as the tone they usually have.
Bottomline. This is not a bad album by any stretch, but it doesn’t reach the heights of albums past. Ogre Tones is definitely worth listening to, there is some fine songwriting and they still have a sound unlike most of the other rock bands out there.
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