Friday, April 18, 2014

KXM - KXM

KXM
KXM
Rat Pak Records

KXM is a new ‘supergroup’ of sorts, comprising of King’s X bassist/vocalist Dug Pinnick, ex-Dokken/Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch and ex-David Lee Roth/Army Of Anyone/Korn drummer Ray Luzier, who have been generating quite the buzz amongst fans since revealing their plans to record an album midway through 2013. Fast forward almost twelve months later, and KXM (Whose name derives from the member’s full-time outfits - K from Korn, X from King’s X, and M from Lynch Mob) have finally delivered their eponymous debut album.
There’s no denying that all three members of KXM are talented in their own right. But the question has to be asked if those individual talents can be pooled together to create something that gels in the musical sense. It’s a fair question, because on paper you would be hard pressed to find three musicians from more vastly different musical backgrounds. But after giving the album plenty of spins, fans can rest assured that that the hype leading up to the release of KXM’s album is well and truly justified.
The trio get things off to a driving start with the opening track ‘Stars’. With clinical precision, the band perfectly blend percussive tribal-like heavy rhythms, tight knit groove based riffs and underpinning bass lines to create a huge sound that is reminiscent of the members’ individual outfits – and yet sounding fresh enough to be called something new. As expected, Pinnick shines with his soulful and commanding voice and delivery of memorable melodies, but the real stars here are Lynch and Luzier. Producer Chris Collier has made sure that Luzier’s contributions to the band aren’t overshadowed in any way, with the drums, the guide - the band follows, in the sound sense. As for Lynch, his guitar work here is quite understated in parts, but comes out in full force when it needs to be. In short, the production and mix is really quite impressive, and designed to allow all three to shine.
‘Rescue Me’ (Which is the first single from the album, and reprised at the end of the album in edited form as a bonus track) and ‘Love’ are obvious stand out cuts on the album with their King’s X sounding strong sense of groove and uplifting choruses, while the band deliver something quite the opposite in ‘Never Stop’, which is a convincing detour into acoustic southern rock in the ballad vein. It’s a sound that was completely unexpected, but it’s a sound the band delivers to perfection.
Experimentation is something the band aren’t afraid to use to their advantage, with the King’s X sounding ‘Faith Is A Room’ and ‘Human Friction’ proof of the band thinking outside the box in terms of fusing Pinnick’s vocal melodies and Lynch’s guitar riffs and tones, while traces of Poundhound’s funk and Dokken’s keen sense of melodic rock is evident throughout ‘Do It Now’.
On the heavier side of things, ‘Gunfight’ and the percussive heavy ‘Burn’ are particular favourites, while Pinnick’s autobiographical tale of domestic abuse on the slow burning ‘Sleep’ is a trip down darker territory, and one of Pinnick’s strongest moments on the album.
Finishing up the album is the instrumental piece ‘Tranquilize’, which sounds like a studio outtake of the band jamming. But while it sounds like a leftover from the recording sessions, it’s actually a great track, and gives listeners an idea of what the band are capable of when they’re in the same room. In other words, despite their various musical backgrounds, KXM has a sound that works.
There was a lot of hype in the lead up to the release of KXM’s debut effort, and I had my reservations given those involved in the group. But overall, the album exceeded all my expectations, and will most likely end up earning top spot on my list of favourite albums for 2014.

For more information on KXM, check out - http://www.facebook.com/kxmofficial

© Justin Donnelly