King's X

Picture of King's X

Out Of The Silent Planet

King's X - Out Of The Silent Planet ©1988 Atlantic
1. In The New Age
2. Goldilox
3. Power Of Love
4. Wonder
5. Sometimes
6. King
7. What Is This?
8. Far, Far Away
9. Shot Of Love
10. Visions

The debut album for this long-lasting, under-appreciated and unique trio was actually one of the better albums in their entire catalogue. With a fresh sound that has a feel of classic rock mixed with a more modern sensibility, Out of the Silent Planet seemingly was one of those records that every music critic praised and no one paid attention to. A lot of people referred to these guys as the second coming of the Beatles, but that's a bit far-reaching. King's X specialized in good harmonies and Doug Pinnick's soulful, powerful vocals are worth noting. Musically there is a bit of a distant edge to the band that tended to just slightly isolate the listener. However, a lot of these songs are so strong in hooks that they will always have a timeless quality, such as "Shot of Love", "King" or "Power of Love". When you consider this band surfaced in the era of hair bands, there is a deeper honesty and musical quality that took sugar coated pop to a much more profound level. Easily one of the more notable debut albums of the era.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

King's X - Gretchen Goes to Nebraska ©1989 Megaforce/Atlantic
1. Out of the Silent Planet
2. Over My Head
3. Summerland
4. Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something
5. The Difference (In the Garden of St.Anne's-on-the-Hill)
6. I'll Never Be the Same
7. Mission
8. Fall on Me
9. Pleiades
10. Don't Believe It (It's Easier Said Than Done)
11. Send a Message
12. The Burning Down

King's X's second album is the cryptically titled Gretchen Goes to Nebraska. At the time of the album's release, one could send away for a story regarding Gretchen, Nebraska and their intertwined destinies, but I don't recall how that story goes anymore. It's been over twenty years, after all, and I can barely remember what happened two weeks ago. Anyhow, Gretchen is a more than apt follow up to their solid debut, though they were still an anomoly at the time of its release. The trio was neither glam nor thrash metal, the two dominating trends, and were perhaps a bit too musically adept to appeal to those who thought Motley Crue's various members should win "best musician" polls in the magazines. And no doubt Slayer fans weren't so keen on such pansy elements as "harmonies" and "melodies". So King's X toiled away with critical acclaim and relatively less popularity.

A long time ago, I tended to find Gretchen just a touch distant and hard to get into, but that could be entirely pegged on being young and too much ear wax in the ol' canals. The reality is that the initial three King's X albums are all top notch, solid releases. Gretchen has some slightly awkward moments (the panning vocals in "Everyone Knows a Little Bit of Something" weren't the greatest of ideas in the production room), but on the whole it finds the band in great form with solid song after solid song. The fact that all three members can really sing helps matters immensely. Vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick is an outstanding frontman with a strong range and ability to really sell the melodies. The songwriting offers up variety and dynamics, so the album doesn't get stale halfway through.

No matter your musical tastes, if you like heavy metal, melodic hard rock or even classic rock, the first three King's X albums range from merely very good to outstanding. I waver between Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and Faith Hope Love as the band's best, but the fact is you can't go wrong with any of this band's first three albums.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2010

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Faith Hope Love

King's X - Faith Hope Love ©1990 Atlantic
1. We Are Finding Who We Are
2. It's Love
3. I'll Never Get Tired Of You
4. Fine Art Of Friendship
5. Mr. Wilson
6. Moanjam
7. Six Broken Soldiers
8. I Can't Help It
9. Talk To You
10. Everywhere I Go
11. We Were Born To Be Loved
12. Faith Hope Love
13. Legal Kill

If you choose to own but one King's X album, Faith Hope Love should be the prime choice. This record is easily the pinnacle achievement of King's X, particularly in their earlier years. The album has such warmth and a wealth of memorable, powerful songs that one cannot help but be moved by its brilliance and stirring spiritually direct sentiments. Unlike its predecessor, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska, the listener never feels like he's standing outside the band's plane of existence and instead this album is an open invitation to the souls of the band. Doug Pinnick's vocals, deftly harmonized with Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill, have never sounded more powerful or culled from the depths of musical history. As with any music tackling the spiritual issues of love and higher powers, the singing should sound as though it is resonating through the annals of time and evoke images of timeless truths being imparted through the power of music.

While Faith Hope Love is not the best album ever, as some of my hyperbole above may suggest, King's X does a masterful job with this album. The richness of the production as well as the harmonizing are mesmerizing. Faith Hope Love is vibrant and alive and is one of the most enjoyable albums in my collection when I'm in the mood for it. One can feel influence of many styles of music ranging from hard rock to gospel throughout and the vast nature of their sound envelopes the listener. The initial classic rock and pop decoration lures the listener in only discover there is much more to uncover with every listen. This album should have catapulted King's X into the ranks of some of the most elite artists in existence in 1990, but it, like everything else they ever have done, seems to have only been understood by a small minority of listeners. Nevertheless, this is the one King's X album that should be in your music collection.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2001

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Ear Candy

King's X - Ear Candy ©1995 Atlantic
1. The Train
2. (Thinking And Wondering) What I'm Gonna Do
3. Sometime
4. A Box
5. Looking For Love
6. Mississippi Moon
7. 67
8. Lies In The Sand (the Ballad Of...)
9. Run
10. Fathers
11. American Cheese (Jerry's Pianto)
12. Picture
13. Life Going By

King's X is one of those bands that have always just been on the outside looking in, at least in terms of widescale success. They had their fair share of very good albums, including Faith Hope Love, but they also had some weaker ones as well. Yet they have persevered and continued writing and playing songs that are distinctly their own and not yielding to any trends whatsoever. Ear Candy is a relatively decent album that is quite obviously King's X traditional sound. Admittedly it is not quite as profound as some of their earlier work. The performances, especially in the band's vocal harmonies, are commendable, but there is just a lack in the edge. The music comes across as a bit sedate and as the band was running a little low on steam at the time. None of the songs really stand out as particularly strong or as powerful as earlier works. Hardcore King's X fans will still much to appreciate in the album, but for the more casual or harder to impress types, Ear Candy is too easily consumable and forgotten.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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