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King's X - Dogman CD (album) cover


King's X


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4.00 | 67 ratings

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4 stars Dogman is the fifth album from Texan trio King's X. It contains some of their heaviest moments so far with more emphasis on metallic riffs though overall there's little progression from the first 4. Having said that, it does contain some classic King's X moments with only a couple of weak tracks.

If you've already heard any King's X albums then stylistically you'll know what you're in store for here. If you haven't King's X are a melodic heavy rock band, sometimes drifting into metal with a few prog overtones. Their trump cards are Ty Tabors distinctive guitar playing; heavy at times, yet warm, rich and full with a style ranging from heavy riffing to sublime arpeggios. In Doug Pinnick they have a superb soulful vocalist (also plays bass) and Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill also contribute vocals and are known to take the occasional lead (though not here) but more often than not supply the Beatles influenced backing vocals.

Title track Dogman is a killer way to open an album. With its grinding stop/start riff it's one of the bands heaviest moments yet still retains a strong melody. After such a great start Shoes is a bit of a let down; another mid paced heavy riff but ultimately lacking a memorable tune. Pretend gets things back on track with an instantly catchy riff alongside Tabors lush arpeggios, a great vocal from Pinnick and driven along by his powerful toppy bass sound and Gaskills solid dependable drumming.

Flies and Blue Skies is King's X at their most sublime. A slow ballad, again an instantly likeable melody with those recognisable backing vocals alongside Pinnicks more restrained but still soulful lead. Black the Sky gets things back on a heavier track with its slow grinding riff and is another strong presence. Another beautiful melodic moment is Fool You, like Pretend marrying Tabors arpeggios with heavy riffs on the chorus.

Don't Care is one of the weaker tracks. While sticking to the King's X rocker formula it's simply let down by a weak melody, an integral part of all the best songs by the band. However it does have some dextrous drumming from Gaskill at the end as he solo's over the closing riff.

Sunshine Rain is beautiful with its sparse verse yet getting heavier for the chorus. Another sublime moment, where balance of light and shade against the heavier moments is spot on. Complain picks up the tempo and is another strong rocker with a strong hook. Followed by Human Behaviour, another track with a stop/start riff for the verse and grinding riff for the chorus. Not bad but not one of their better tracks.

Cigarettes is another typically restrained on the verse but heavier on the chorus type moment. Go To Hell is a bit of a throwaway track. Uptempo and noisy but thankfully short at 51 seconds. Better is Pillow which is another slow paced slice of heavy rock.

I'm not normally a lover of bands playing other peoples songs, a bit of a pointless exercise unless you can do it better which rarely happens. However the live version of Manic Depression that closes this album is a well executed faithful reproduction of the Jimi Hendrix classic.

So another excellent album from King's X with just a couple of weaker tracks keeping it from being an outright classic but well worth adding to your collection.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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