I still remember when I bought this album (yes…I’m old enough to have been buying vinyl albums back in the day and I STILL own a turn table…hahaha) at Paradise Records and Tapes on Highland Road off the LSU campus back in 1988. I thought the cover looked cool and, because it was on the Megaforce label, I spent my money on it. After all, Megaforce was the label that spawned Metallica, Anthrax, Overkill, Testament, Metal Church, and many other of my pleasantly named metal favorites.
None of them sounded like this, though. And I can’t say I’ve ever heard a band before or since who sounded like King’s X in their formative glory years.
King’s X is, in my opinion, the ultimate power trio. All three members write and contribute both lead and backing vocals, though Doug Pinnick is recognized as the “front man” whatwith his powerful, soulful and inimitable voice. And it’s these three voices together over a unique and powerful guitar sound that sets King’s X apart.
From the opening track “In the New Age,” this disc is just amazing…mixing heavy and sometimes growling distorted guitar (very Black Sabbath at times) with Beatlesque vocal harmonies straight out of heaven. Man I’ve just never heard three part harmony done so effortlessly and passionately in rock.
“King” is probably my favorite track here, uptempo and tackling a racial theme with undeniable heart. There’s lots of standout moments here, “Power of Love,” “Wonder,” “Shot of Love” …I could name them all. Each one just breathes originality from the sometimes unorthodox songwriting to Ty Tabor’s one-of-a-kind guitar sound to the aforementioned harmonies. If I had to pick one favorite, it would have to be “Goldilox,” probably the most moving and beautiful song I’ve ever heard.
The crossover appeal of this and subsequent releases should have been immense, yet from bad management to confused marketing King’s X never hit the so-called big time. Like all great bands, though, they’ve earned a dedicated fan base over the years and can continue to record and tour probably for the rest of their lives…thankfully.
If you’ve not had the opportunity to listen to King’s X, this is a great place to start, as this debut album is hardly a baby-step forward. It’s a fully actualized and accomplished piece of work and it’s worth your time for sure.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5