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King’s X – XV

Label: SPV USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

“XV” is the appropriately titled fifteenth release from the Texas trio King’s X. From the band’s beginnings in the mid 80’s (check out “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska” and “Faith Love Hope” from 1990), Ty Tabor (guitars, vocals), Doug Pinnick (lead vocals, bass) and Jerry Gaskill (drums, vocals), have always been different from the pack offering up soulful, at times progressive hard rock characterized by their very distinctive vocals harmonies with a Beatles influence. This all can be heard on the track “Blue” and “Repeating Myself” where its chorus is presented in a repetitious fashion. “XV” opens with the rocker “Pray” followed by eleven more (with two bonus) songs that take the listener through several ups and downs with rockers such as “Rocket Ship” and almost haunting balladesque melodies for “Julie”.
There is surely a common rhythmic thread and consistent sonic tone on “XV” captured by the riff patterns and choice of dynamics. For example this can be found in something like “Broke”. This rhythm/composition choice, allows space within the arrangement for the chorus and voice melodies to breath. Three part vocal harmonies, I think, are the focus to “I Just Want To Live” as a light guitar lead brings out the main melody line. This tune would be one of the weaker I would say because it just has too simplistic and bland. “Go Tell Someone” I think is much better, Ty evokes some nice emotion at times in voice and the guitar riff is not as similar as others found throughout the rest of the album.

The bonus tracks might just be my two favorites. “Love and Rockets” is a bit funky and a bluesy “No Lie” closing out the disc nicely adding really unexpected variety, at this point, to the album.

Compared to what King’s X has done in their past, I really wish “XV” had more spice to these songs/arrangements. I think the type of riffing and rhythms become too much of the same thing and its noticeable.
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