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King's X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska CD (album) cover


King's X


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4.06 | 110 ratings

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5 stars From the droning sitar of the opening track, Out of the Silent Planet, to the huge dissonant pipe organ chord that is struck in the intro of Mission, there is something truly mystical and magical about Gretchen Goes to Nebraska, the second album by the Texas trio King's X. The title itself, which is based on the short story by drummer Jerry Gaskill about a girl and her adventurous journey to paradise, invokes an aura of mysticism. Add to that the uber-prog-influenced arrangements, the spot-on performances, and poetic lyrics of faith, and you have the makings of one truly amazing aural experience, one that sets the bar quite high for sophomore efforts.

The first star of the Gretchen show is guitarist Ty Tabor, whose tone on Gretchen is perhaps one of the most sought-after in rock history. Tabor himself was so secretive about his tone that he went as far as to change the logos on his amps (even his dummy amps!) while performing in order to guard his secret. Tabor's magic can best be heard in the aforementioned tracks, Out of the Silent Planet and Mission, as well as the straight-ahead rocker Over My Head, the riff-heavy I'll Never Be the Same, the MTV hit Summerland, and the funky Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something.

The second star of the show is vocalist Dug Pinnick. His gospel-trained pipes are what set him apart from other hard rock and metal vocalists of the era, and he's at his absolute best on Over My Head and Summerland. Pinnick's soulful shout is a refreshing alternative to the usual metal screamers.

The third star of the show is King's X as a vocal ensemble. Their tight harmonies are as prevalent as ever on Gretchen, especially on Out of the Silent Planet, Mission, the beautfiul acoustic rocker The Difference, and Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something. Pinnick, Tabor, and Gaskill have the same synergy that all great vocal groups have, from the earliest Doo Wop groups to the Beach Boys, and of course the Beatles.

The final stars of the Gretchen show are the lyrics. Gretchen is much more allegorical than other King's X albums, which is part of the genius of Gretchen. King's X tell stories of faith in such a poetic way that they are never mistaken for preaching or attempting to convert the masses. On Out of the Silent Planet, the coming of Christ is described as simply as a Father speaking and the Son becoming the story. King's X even tackle their own mistrust of televangilism on Mission. They have the guts to ask, What is the mission of the preacher man? Thought-provoking indeed!

Gretchen Goes to Nebraska is truly magical and can only be described as the King's X magnum opus. For its interesting arrangements and tonal complexities that work in unison with all of the ear-pleasing melodies & harmonies, and for its poetic and insightful lyics, and soulful lead vocals, it receives the highest recommendation for fans of progressive music.

jimidom | 5/5 |


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