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King's X - Tape Head CD (album) cover


King's X

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On first impressions it would seem we have another album from King's X following their by now familiar formula of melodic heavy rock. Doug Pinnick's soulful vocals are still there, so are the Beatles influenced harmonies and Ty Tabor's distinctive, rich and full guitar sound is still present. What's sets it apart from their previous albums is the quality of the songs. While Tape Head is far from a bad album, it does have some very good tracks, but overall there's not a lot here to draw the listener back for repeated plays when there's so many other excellent King's X albums to listen too.

With opener Groove Machine we might think we're onto another winner here. It has a classic grinding Tabor riff, strong melody and they go through their quiet verse/heavy chorus routine prevalent on quite a few of their songs. It's a great way to start and Fade continues in a similar though a little slower vein, also featuring some nice vocal harmonies. Over and Over is the band in ballad mode with a heavy chorus and very good it is too.

So far so good but the first cracks appear with Ono. A good opening riff descends into a track offering little interest. Pinnick's vocals are treated on the verse; it sounds like he's singing through a megaphone and the chorus has a rather simplistic uninspiring melody. Cupid and Ocean, the latter with Tabor on lead vocals whilst not bad are a far cry from classic King's X. Little Bit of Soul is better and proves the point that what separates the good from the mediocre here is simply a strong melody.

Hate You, a mid paced rocker passes by almost unnoticed but Higher Than God is better and has a nice Tabor guitar solo. Happy, a little longer than the rest of the 3 to 4 minute tracks, getting on for 6 minutes is pretty good. Despite the title it's quite a dark sounding track with an excellent pummelling Pinnick bass line driving the verse and inventive vocal melodies on the chorus. A few more like this could have a made a difference.

Mr Evil is another darker sounding moment befitting it's title and World is a fast rocker but goes nowhere of interest. They close with a live track called Walter Bella Farkas; King's X play jazz anyone? Well not quite, perhaps more a freeform racket but I suspect tongues were firmly in cheeks on this one.

Tape Head is a rather frustrating album as it has some very good moments but too much is mediocre to put it up there with their best. Still, too good to grade as only a 2 star album so I'll settle for a rather begrudged 3.

Report this review (#186231)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Tape Head" is a relatively non-descript CD in the midst of a down period for King's X.

So, I've been on a King's X kick lately, they're about to headline my local progressive festival and I figured this was as good a time as any to see what they've been up to for the past few years. From what I've determined, this is one of their better albums in general, but not outstanding. This is going to be a somewhat short review as sixty percent of this one does not stand out in one way or the other. I'll only be commenting on the songs that I think stand out.

My general comment is that if you enjoy the King's X sound, you'll enjoy "Tape Head" This CD is full of all the things that you'd expect from King's X: groovy bass by Dug Pinnick, solid drumming by Jerry Gaskill and Ty Tabor alternating between shredding and melodic groovy rhythms. Add to this the fantastic three part harmonies and heavy King's X sound and you've got a formula for success.

"Groove Machine" starts out the CD with the previously mentioned King's X sound, loud, heavy and chunky. At about the thirty-five second mark, all three hit a great harmony out of nowhere, welcoming us to the Groove Machine. This is a hard rocking song the whole way through, great lyrics, great feel and great way to start out an album.

"Little Bit of Soul" has a somewhat whimsical groove, all three musicians blend together for a nice laid back riff allowing Dug to show the more soulful side of his voice. "Higher than God" is my favorite song of this CD. The verse is heavy with Misters Pinnick and Tabor doubling each other as Jerry Gaskill lays the beat down. This leads into a catchy chorus that makes me take notice regardless of where my mind may have drifted off to over the past song. The last good highlight is "Mr. Evil" which features a great bluesy slide guitar by Mr. Tabor towards the end of the track.

. . .

Did you ever have one of those ideas that you think is a 'can't miss no-brainer' only to have your friends talk you out of the idea. A lot of times, you'll look back afterwards and think to yourself 'yeah, they were right'. I get the feeling that Ty Tabor wishes Dug and Jerry would have talked him out of "Walter Becker Farkas". I'll be honest, even if Ty doesn't regret that one; I personally wish that Dug and Jerry would have stepped up to the plate there. Thanks guys! The song is a live recording and Dug announces before they start it that "we're going to write it right at this moment." Ok, interesting concept. I think we did that once in my high school band. Even so, it's not horrendous until Ty Tabor comes in. They at least should have chosen a key first; I think that would have been acceptable. Oh and lyrics. Apparently they brought in a guest vocalist to scream and do a bad Axel Rose imitation for this one, I can only wonder why. Seriously guys, had this piece been an instrumental it could have been considered 'quirky' rather than 'Awful'. So with that being said, "Tape Head" by King's X is a decent album with a few really good songs and a lot of decent songs that fade into the background. Luckily the abominably bad song doesn't take away from the three star rating.

Report this review (#228838)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars King's X has never released easy accessible music.

That is why this hard working band has never got the break they deserve among the average music consumer. Which is a bit odd, because King's X do music The Beatles would had done if John Lennon had not been assassinated and The Beatles had reformed this decade.

OK, King's X music is a bit harder than The Beatles in their golden period of '66- '70, but the similarities between The Beatles and King's X are too many to be ignored. But not on this album which is a bit harder than the usual fare from this band. Tape Head contains some groovy, sophisticated Hard Rock, with the very special King's X sound.

Each of their previous albums has included one or two brilliant musical pieces. Tape Head does not have any really superb songs. You get their sound and that's it. There is really not any good songs on this album. Tape Head it Kings'X running empty.

This album is nowhere as good as their first three albums or even their self titled album. This album is King's X weakest album in their long career. But on their best; King's X blow away most bands on this planet. But ignore Tape Head if you are new to this band.

2 stars

Report this review (#264105)
Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Just buy the download of the first track "Groove Machine", it's King's X at their very best. Sadly it stops there and the rest of the Cd is just a waste of space. The end of the Major contract didn't do well for KIng's X who released their worst record yet! It was definitely strange, I wouldn't expect them to lose the plot so abruptly after the good new stuff they added at the end of the Greatest Hits. I didn't know then but it was the beginning of a dry spell that would end only almost a decade later!
Report this review (#438531)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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