Dug Pinnick, Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill have been playing together for 25 years,
and King’s X has released 11 studio albums that you don’t know about, and that
is a complete shame. The best kept secret in music today is touring and still
making great records. Their last one, Ogre Tones, is absolutely
fantastic. For the first time since 1996’s Ear Candy, King’s X brought
someone in to produce the album (Michael Wagener, who produced Dokken, Accept
and others), as opposed to their last four studio albums and last year’s live
double disc, Live All Over the Place, which they produced themselves.
The last four albums are all very good in their own right, with 1998’s
Tapehead, the strongest, but this record seems to have reenergized the band.
Ogre Tones is full of their hookiest and most accessible work to date.
With Wagener producing, the boys were free to write and play, which they do
The theme is fairly dark, as the lyrical territory they explore includes murder
(“Open My Eyes”), loss (the hypnotic “Sooner or Later” and “Mudd”) and a
challenge to God about the state of the human condition (“Get Away”). Taybor’s
guitar playing is magical and on display all over the album, including his work
on “Sooner or Later,” which swirls for nearly seven minutes. Pinnick is the best
singer around today, and his soulful voice is the perfect compliment to the
guitar wizardry of Tabor. Jerry Gaskill’s timekeeping is steady as usual,
creating the bottom with Pinnick’s heavy bass playing. For the melancholy
“Honesty,” Tabor sings lead and is accompanied by acoustic guitar and unmatched
Beatlesque harmonies, another standout track on a record full of excellent ones.
If terrestrial radio was listenable at all, “If”, “Mudd”, and “Hurricane” would
be getting some airplay. If you would like to listen to a band that plays on the
heavy side of the playground, with touches of soul and pop, go get this record
~R. David Smola