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CD Review: King’s X – Ogre Tones

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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.

Recommended.

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  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Beware the flames heading your way. Anything other than adulation causes the KX faithful to go batshit. =)

    I am a casual fan of King’s X. Haven’t heard the new album yet but it is on my list. Good review.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Yeah, I saw what was going on in that other review. It’s not a bad album by any stretch, the main problem, for me, is that the sound isn’t on par with the older albums, that trademark thickness is a bit thin.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    I think the ‘sound’ of Dogman is probably their best. I don’t think it is their best album from a song standpoint (although it is very good) but I do like it’s sound.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~proy1/ Paul Roy

    You summed it up quite nicely. I have been a fan since the beginning, but they have lost me with the last few weak efforts. With a new producer and all, I was hoping to finally be blown away again. But, after listening to it six or seven times now, it is simply just good. Probably better than everything since Ear Candy, but not close to anything that came before. I’m still excited about seeing them next month at Jaxx. At least they still kick ass live. Now where the hell is that concert DVD?

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    I finally picked it up yesterday. I haven’t really had a chance to listen to it all the way through yet (working on that right now). What I have heard I kind of like.

  • Alex

    I wouldn’t worry to much about getting flamed. Unlike the other review, you try to express what it was about the album that you didn’t like. The other guy spent most of his time ragging on how King’s X wasn’t a big money maker band etc etc etc.