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King's X - Out Of The Silent Planet CD (album) cover


King's X

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4 stars In the stark rock and roll landscape circa 1988, dominated by cookie cutter hair metal bands and modern rock acts addicted to overplayed neo-psychedelica, came Out of the Silent Planet, the fabulous debut album from King's X. The trio from Houston, Texas by way of Springfield, Missouri offered up an amazing sound so unlike anyone or anything else of its time, a sound ruled by heavenly guitar riffs, gospel-inspired lead vocals, thunderous rhythm section work, wonderous melodies, gloriouus 3-part harmonies, and myriad lyrics of faith without ever sounding like a sermon. Out of the Silent Planet was the album that made it cool to rock again in a world of campy hard rock excess.

Killer riffs and basslines abound on this release, from the hard rocking opener In the New Age to the jamming Visions. Ty Tabor's guitar tone is as instantly recognizable as any guitar hero's, and it is front and center on just about every track along with Dug Pinnick's church-trained wail. The melodies are indeed catchy, and the harmonies are tight. Furthermore, King's X were not afraid to wear their faith on their sleeve on the tracks Power of Love, King and Shot of Love because they made it perfectly clear that despite such lyrical content they were a band of Christians playing secular music, not a Christian band.

For the uninitiated, Out of the Silent Planet is the natural place to start. Although it sounds a bit dated in places, when taken in context it is phenomenal for its time. However, it is important to note that King's X would only get better from here including a masterpiece of a sophomore effort the following year. For fans of progressive music, Out of the Silent Planet is highly recommended.

Report this review (#182792)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a fantastic debut album Out Of The Silent Planet is. Great musicianship, great lead vocals, as well as strong backing vocals and most importantly excellent songwriting. The music is heavy rock with slight Prog leanings with a strong emphasis on melodic catchy tunes with much use made of the fact that all 3 band members can sing.

In the New Age opens the album with a minute and a half of ambient sound effects before the band really kick in and what's immediately apparent is guitarist Ty Tabors rich sound; powerful and full, a sound that has become immediately recognisable to fans of the band. He also shares lead vocals with Doug Pinnick (bass) on this hard hitting slice of melodic rock and Tabor also plays a great guitar solo, not overly flash but making every note count.

Goldilox is more of a power ballad, a song that remains a live favourite to this day with its lush harmony vocals and Tabors sweet picking style on the guitar contrasting with heavier riffs.

Power of Love has quite a psychedelic vibe to it with an excellent soulful vocal performance from Pinnick which runs straight into Wonder with Tabors versatile guitar playing alternating between metallic riffs, rich arpeggios and clean chords and more excellent vocal work.

Even better is Sometimes, the trademark harmonies are there again and King's X know that what you don't play is just as important as what you do allowing the song to breathe and make every note count. Next is King and it might just be my favourite track on the album. It's just a simple mid paced rocker but has one of the bands catchiest melodies which immediately gets under the skin.

What is This? is another favourite with another great vocal performance from Pinnick and Far, Far Away has all the King's X ingredients but doesn't quite hit the spot the way most of the album does but Shot of Love more than makes up for it as does final track Visions which goes from a powerful plodding rocker to a breakneck pace for Tabors guitar solo.

Out of The Silent Planet is one of the best debut albums of the eighties but they would follow it with arguably their greatest masterpiece, Gretchen Goes To Nebraska.

Report this review (#182878)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Superb album. The sheer scale of the sounds from both bass and guitar is amazing. Ty Tabor nails a heavy grungy sound, there's a cleaner Van Halen sound, a beautiful clean acoustic & 12-string. Doug Pinnick's bass sound is to die for. Oh, and the harmony vocals, arrangement, melody, lyrics and structure are top class. what baffled me is how long it took this band to appear on the archives.

The opening is sci-fi ambience before what fans will recognise as the quintessential Kings X comes in: heavy, but never overpowering, rock with harmony vocals interweaving with Pinnick's cries: all tight as the proverbial gnat's ass. Just brilliant.

Goldilox, a classic, introduces the listener to another side of this talented band. Slow and controlled rock ballad, without dragging or venturing on to the wrong side of sentimentality (as Thin Lizzy were wont to do on occasions). Pinnick's style and presence is reminiscent of the great Phil Lynott (maybe not the deep casual power and humour) but similar in the overreaching influence of the band's sound.

My least favourite track is Power of Love, and maybe that's just because it shares a title with Frankie Goes to Hollywood track (my dislike of that band runs so deep: the therapy hasn't worked, but then again maybe Therapy? would work). I digress. Wonder opens with echoing 12-string. Little bit choppier in the changes from acoustic to heavy rock, Pinnick wails to harmonies. Good but a little disjointed and stuttering for me.

Sometimes has a Van Halen like sound a the start but breaks down: arpeggios, harmony vocals kick in and a tremendous rocking rhythm. This may remind some people of the sort of pulsating beat that Faith No More were masters of at about this time, but with Kings X there is a higher level. As if to emphasise this King interweaves harmony lines with a steady rock beat. Inspirational. Simple and effective. There is more forceful heavy rock feel to What is This? Still a hint of Faith No More. This is a different feel and vibe, a sinister backdrop with hopeful chorus lyrics.

It's Jerry Gaskill's drums that lead us into the most impressive vocal track of the album, Far, Far Away. One of my favourites. There's still a lot of Van Halen in here, (with maybe a lean towards Dave Lee Roth's Skyscraper). Shot of Love is upbeat, a little bit too pop rock for me. But each to their own.

Visions returns to the slower powerful heavier rock sound. It keeps rolling, the vocals of Pinnick & harmonies are by now distinctive: you have the Kings X sound (well at least as far as Dogbreath).

An excellent addition: not essential. Better is yet to come - Gretchen/Kings X and Faith Hope Love. Onwards and upwards but a great start.

Report this review (#183249)
Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars KING'S X debut was released in 1988, a bleak time for music that I can attest to personally. These guys brought a unique sound to the world back then with those great harmonies and that SABBATH-like bottom end. I mean a ton of bass and drums. The lyrics reflect their Christian beliefs, and Ty on lead guitar is simply amazing. I love the picture of the band in the liner notes, they are so wild looking(check out the hair !).

"In The New Age" opens with 1 1/2 minutes of spacey and experimental sounds before we get hit with a truck load of bottom end. Vocals follow. Back at that time the "New Age Movement" was getting a lot of attention, so they speak out against them with words like "I see the blind lead the blind, in the search for the mind". Very powerful song. Check out the bass before 4 minutes, followed by a killer guitar solo. "Goldilox" is a laid back tune but it does have this heavy undercurrent that comes and goes. Very meaningful lyrics. Love the guitar after 3 minutes. "Power Of Love" opens with chunky bass and drums as vocals come in. Great chorus as the sound explodes. The guitar 2 minutes in goes on and on. It's a thing of beauty. Some great riffs follow as they step it up again.

"Wonder" is fairly mellow to start with until the heaviness arrives after a minute.This contrast continues. Passionate vocals after 3 minutes. These guys have such an incredible sound. "Sometimes" opens with this very raw guitar lead as deep bass and vocals follow. Blistering guitar 3 minutes. Love the raw aggression from Ty on this one. "King" is pretty much an uptempo, anti-satan song. With words like "You are the one who causes me pain, you are the one who causes me grief, you are the one who lied to me". The rhythm section rocks on this track. "The king is coming ya ya ya ya". "What Is This ?" shows the band digging deep with low end guitar and fat bass lines. Emotional lyrics and vocals as well. "Far, Far Away" is one of my top three songs on here. Amazing track ! Some fantastic guitar throughout. They tone it down for this one.

"Shot Of Love" is a very catchy tune. Hard not to move to this one. They're asking God for "A shot of love across the mountains to the sea, from the poles of north and south, wherever we may be". Hey it works ! Ripping guitar 2 minutes in. Great song. "Visions" hits us right away with a landslide of heaviness. Vocals come in right away. Love the lyrics. The heaviness doesn't stop until 2 1/2 minutes in when the tempo picks up. Fantastic ! The guitar comes flying in lighting it up as Doug yells in the background. Back to the original melody 4 minutes in until the tempo picks up again to end it this time.

As others have said, this is such an impressive debut from this band, and in my opinion a must have.

Report this review (#184527)
Posted Friday, October 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my favorite hard rock/metal albums, and it's one of those albums, while not prog metal, is one that all prog metal fans should recognize for its influence on the genre. One of the reasons I love it is that it doesn't sound like anything else that was happening at the time. This is the year that Operation: Mindcrime, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, No Exit and Keeper of the Seven Keys part II were released. Tenor voices, fast paced drumming, melodic radio songs, and leather ruled, and most albums had that one epic song that showed off the prowess of the musicians. In response to that, King's X released an album that showcased tight (and relatively slow) grooves, a baritone lead vocalist in bassist Doug Pinnick (with contributions from the John Lennon sound-alike vocals of guitarist Ty Tabor), well written and concise songs, and a psychedelic image that harkened back to Sgt. Peppers era Beatles. These guys didn't need 10+ minute long songs to show what great players they were. When you can stuff the perfect riff, vocals, guitar solo, and bass line in a 4-5 minute song, what's the need for more time? This album, in terms of melodic songwriting, chops, and delivery rivals other power trio classics by (early) Rush or Triumph. In fact, Rush would return to a stripped down sound in the early 90's after going rather keyboard heavy in the 80's. Were they influenced to do this by King's X? I have no idea, but the sound on Out Of The Silent Planet is still fresh, dynamic and exciting due to the fact that it's just three guys playing three instruments really well. Also, kudos to Sam Taylor for capturing the power of the band in the studio, not an easy feat.
Report this review (#265553)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars KING'S X seemingly came out of nowhere in 1988 with their debut album OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET melding progressive metal with funk and soul in midst of the sea of glam metal, dance pop and corporate controlled MTV. The band has consisted of the same three members since its inception in Springfield, MO all the way back in 1980 and despite never reaching extreme heights in their success have been cited as a major influence in the alternative rock that would dominate the 90s and to this day have a very loyal following. The band actually started when bassist and vocalist Doug Pinnick and drummer Jerry Gaskill were brought together by Greg Volz of the Christian rock band Petra to do a project. Guitarist Ty Tabor met them at one of the gigs, they hit if off and the rest is history. Although the lyrics tend to be based on spiritual themes and the group makes no secret that they are Christians they nonetheless reject the Christian rock band label.

OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET is one of my favorite releases by KING'S X along with the following three. Starting with the first track 'In The New Age' we get a new age intro that shrouds and obfuscates the band's true sound until the grungy alternative rock guitar finally breaks in and dominates the soundscape. All of the songs are catchy and edgy at the same time. There is a subdued funkiness to the bass that is totally independent of the dirty guitar sounds and there's a pseudo-sloppiness that is held together in some strange way that gives them a rather unique sound. Also on board are the famous harmonizing vocals between all three members with Doug Pinnick belting out some strong lead vocals that are often personal and often dark but always ultimately uplifting lyrics.

Like all really good power trios, KING'S X makes the most out of their three instruments and contributing vocals. Despite their music not being significantly different from other hard rock and alternative bands, there's something about it that is distinctly KING'S X. The catchy songs are simply infectious and the band's ability to mix distinct tones, rhythms and atmosphere give them a very unique sound. The harmonizing vocals, down tuned guitar and bass create some interesting dynamics. I find this a very strong debut with very few weak tracks like 'Power Of Love' which was obviously a hopeful radio friendly potential hit that never came to be.

Report this review (#1394581)
Posted Sunday, April 5, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars After almost 30 years after its release, Out of the Silent Planet still sounds fresh and surprising!

King's X are not strictly progressive. They are an alternative hard rock band from the end 80's which decided to mix their Rush and progressive influences with a strong song-oriented songwriting, a bit commercial but complex enough to appeal the prog fans. It's like Saga meets Rush but with a touch of grunge and alternative rock in the vein of Pixies or Sonic Youth. That makes the sound of King's X kind of unique and interesting.

The sound is the album is also pretty good, with emphasis on the strong Ty Tabor guitars and the outstanding voice of Doug Pinnick, one of the best prog singers of all time in my opinion. Jerry Gaskill is also solid on his drums, making King's X a true power trio in the best tradition of the mentioned Rush.

Out of the Silent Planet opens with In the New Age, a powerful and modern song with great guitar sound making a very good alternative hard rock tune. But Goldilox is even better with its great lyrics and the impressive vocals from Pinnick. A mellow and catchy song, and a real King's X classic. Power of Love is a bit more conventional, typical hard rock from the 80's very well sung.

Wonder is maybe the lowest point of the album, despite its good chorus. Just too repetitive! But the album gets better with Sometimes, funnier and with another good chorus. King is even better with its distorted bass line and good choirs, while What is this? offers interesting psychedelic voices together with an impressive singing on the choir.

Far, Far Away is the most progressive track of the album and one of my favorites. Great guitar melodies! A song which influenced in the progressive sound of the 90's. Shot of Love remembers me to the best Extreme with its vocal melodies, and it has surprising folk melodies in its riffs. Visions is a mid-tempo with an accelerated final section, leaving a very good impression.

Conclusion: Out of the Silent Planet supposed a great debut for King's X. A band which sounded just great despite its youth, with powerful guitars, an impressive voice talent who also plays bass pretty well, together with a strong drummer. This album is a very stimulating mixture of hard rock, alternative rock and some prog elements, with full of splendid songs, catchy chorus and great songwriting. Recommended!

Best Tracks: In the New Age, Goldilox, King, Far Far Away.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#1744885)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 | Review Permalink

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