Released: 2003, Metal Blade
This is by far and away my favorite King’s X CD since Gretchen! Over the years I felt the band, which I still admire and respect had drifted away from the sound that originally attracted me to them. It’s not surprising to me as this CD features songs written in the very earliest days of the band.
The disc is a meaty 14 tracks over an hour and every song is great…I’m so pleased to have a chance to hear these songs now. Again self-produced and presented with the minimalist look the band has always sported this collection is a treasure for fans. The presentation is that indescribably delicious crunchy, groove sound that is so thick and full it delights the senses. King’s X has always sounded great.
The cover is a quite dull painting which a fan painted and it became the cover. The inside packaging is odd. It consists of a calendar from May 2003-December 2003 with tour dates, anniversary notes and lots of live photos. It doesn’t make sense and looks more like a live CD than a historical retrospective. The band is waaay overdue for alive album but this disc should have had notes about the history of the songs to make it more tangible, complete and meaningful for the collector. The band opted to put the lyrics on the multi-portion of the disc which must surely piss-off fans without computers and guys like me who don’t want to have to listen to my discs sitting quietly at a desk. No matter.
Late last year the band re-recorded these old tunes and the combination of the old songs with modern heavy production and years of experience make all the tunes a winner. All but one are very short radio friendly material, the exception being the epic-length title track breaking the eleven minute mark. All the short songs a re very catchy, not in a pop-sensibility but they are raw and stripped down, punchy and fun.
The songs are also heavier and faster than the band has done in over ten years, not as progressive but still far superior to your average melodic rock arrangement. I’m sure the band has avoided the tag ‘metal’ over the years but this disc brings them back into the arena that attracted them to more experimental or receptive metal heads in the first place. Critical for any fan of the old King’s X who perhaps had given up on the band.