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King's X Ogre Tones

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, October 25, 2005 @ 2:23 PM


(Inside Out Music)

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Back during the time a Los Angeles radio station - KNAC 105.5 (which was based in Long Beach, California) - lived and breathed its fire on the FM airwaves, I heard my first King's X song. It was "Fall on Me", and it blew me away from the first note with its Robin Trower-esque guitar and overall heaviness. It was like inhaling a soulful bowl-full of something that I had never tasted, but knew I had to have more. I think the next time I turned my radio on (the radio that I tuned to 105.5 and broke off the knob) I heard "Over my Head" and it affected me spiritually. No shit. It was a couple years later, when they broke with the album Faith, Hope, Love that they started to catch a pop radio and MTV audience. Not long after this happened KNAC went off the air and Los Angeles radio died. Children who were conceived after this period were likely to be invertebrates unless their parents kept on rocking and continued to go to live shows to survive the weak radio period that would ensue.

Though they never really hit the lofty heights of commercial success, King's X have stayed with it and never went away. They have survived the trends, the unstable music industry and what remains among the Texas trio is the desire to make music.

After a couple albums where the band hadn't delivered the goods that their fans - or even they themselves - were accustomed to, King's X have released Ogre Tones. Bassist Dug Pinnick said "The way we look at it, Out Of The Silent Planet, Dogman, and then this new one. We figured, if we were going to give anybody any of our records, those would be them."

What about Gretchen Goes to Nebraska?

Ogre Tones, simply put, is a good record. It is not as hard of a rocker overall as their other works are, yet for the King's X fan –this record is a winner. Every band has the artistic right to do whatever they want, and King's X evidently did what they wanted with this one. Most of the songs highlight the band's trademark sound with a little more vocals ringing in from guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill than most of their previous stuff. "Freedom" is brilliant in its mood, controversial lyrical content, and it is a song that they had been playing live for a while. "Get Away" is a beautiful "Hey God …" letter song, which asks God "Where do you go to get away"? There are a couple of songs that should be pitched. One of them is "Bebop", with a rather lame wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom homage to Little Richard. The vocal trade-offs between members on this record are brilliant as is Ty Tabor's guitar work.

* * * 1/2


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