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King's X - XV CD (album) cover

XV

King's X

 

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3.50 | 35 ratings

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Roland113
3 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"XV" by King's X is a pretty good album.

To the best of my knowledge, King's X started out as a positive influence, almost Christian, band. I say this because one of my earlier bands modeled ourselves after them. This was back in the early nineties for those of you that are keeping score at home. So we patterned ourselves after King's X, we weren't overtly Christian, we didn't preach because we didn't want to alienate the non-religious. Well, that and I was the black sheep of the band, I was the guy that the rest of the band wanted to convert, there was only so much preachiness that I could tolerate. Regardless, all of our songs did have positive or thought provoking lyrics. We avoided the hard rock clichés of bangin' hoes and swinging deals . . . or what ever the kids are doing these days . . .

We didn't have shoes back then either, if we stepped on an ungrounded patch cord, we felt it . . . and we had to carry our own amps too. Now where'd my pants go?

Anyways, my point is that King's X was a very positive band back then, embraced by the religious community, specifically, the born again Christian community. In ninety-seven, lead singer and bass player Dug Pinnick came out of the closet and the community that he thought he was a member of, turned their back on him. Their albums were pulled from the Christian record stores and support was dropped.

Dug was understandably upset by their reaction, or at least I presume that he was. The band took a turn at that point producing a series of sub-par albums full of cynicism and bitterness, followed by Ogre Tones and XV. Despite the higher quality of the last two, the bitterness is still omnipresent.

"XV" features the same great King's X signature sound but the joy that once pervaded their music has been replaced by resignation. This bitterness is shown first in "Pray" the rocker that starts the album off. This is a great song that starts the album firing on all cylinders with Dug reminding those in the know to throw a prayer his way, "If you think that Jesus has saved you . . . then don't forget to pray for me." Later on in the album, in "I Don't Know" Ty Tabor sings 'Did I say you need forgiveness . . . I don't know what I was thinking . . . cause I don't know what I was sayin'. You can see my point, not the positive band that they once were.

While it was kind of quirky on their last CD, on this one, it actually brings the CD down. The songs "Blue", "Julie", "Broke", "Stuck" and "No Lie" all do nothing for me. "Broke" in particular suffers from Tuscanesquely bad lyrics, "With a credit card you pay your bills because you're broke, is this a joke?" I'll let that one sit for itself. "No Lie" is your basic 1, 4, 5 blues riff and a fairly un-ambitious one at that. In all fairness, Dug does state that he'd never sung this song before at the beginning of the song. King's X is good for putting an oddity at the end of their CD's.

Onto the highlights: the aforementioned "Pray" is a solid opener despite the bitterness. "Repeating Myself" and "Rocket Ship" are the two of the best tracks on the CD. "Repeating Myself" is a soulful Ty Tabor sung ballad that is beautifully done and runs straight into the thumping "Rocket Ship" which once again expresses the band's indignation at the religious vehicle.

"Alright" is a rocking but hopeful glance back at a happier King's X and sits up there among the best of XV. "One day, it's gonna be, alright . . . " More of this please.

"Go Tell Somebody" starts off with a tasty lick by Ty Tabor and finishes up with some classic King's X vocal harmonies. "Love and Rockets" has a marvelously sinister tone through and through, with a clean chorus that fits nicely between the dark verses.

All in all, this is a dark album full of King's X typical highlights, exquisite harmonies and beautiful melodies. Sadly, only about half of the songs stand out which puts this solidly into a three star rating.

Roland113 | 3/5 |

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