KING’S X – Out Of The Silent Planet [Rock Candy Remastered]
This is another, finally, fulfilled request: KING’S X influential debut “Out Of The Silent Planet“, remastered & reloaded by Rock Candy Records. The emergence of Texan based power trio King’s X resonated through the music industry like a breath of fresh air. Suffocating under a barrage of hair metal bands, the scene was fast stagnating but it was King’s X who rode into the fray like knights in shining armour, unleashing a stylistically innovative and brilliant new sound.
King’s X made its mark by being different. Consider how the group’s full-length debut “Out Of The Silent Planet” came out at the height of the ‘hair metal’ era, and gaudy attire, pop influenced catchy hooks and the wave the lighter in the air power ballad helped pave the way for commercial success.
King’s X, on the other hand, took the more artistic approach by fusing intricate songwriting and a wide array of musical styles with an image on the streetwise side of things.
Yes, the group contrasted with much of the cookie-cutter-formula-radio-friendly proclivities of the time but in the process brought a uniqueness that delighted critics and garnered a long term and loyal fan base.
It begins with vocals in that instead of a high-end crooner reaching for the stratosphere or a strutting around David Lee Roth type, King’s X includes two equally good and complementary vocalists.
Bassist Doug Pinnick, on one hand, brings a soulful style heavily rooted in heart and emotion and has invited comparison to the late Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) as a result.
Guitarist Ty Tabor, on the other, highlights a smooth and even middle-register presence. Pinnick handles majority of lead vocal duties, while Tabor plays a co-lead vocalist role, with the two occasionally trading off within the same song in this capacity.
It is musical direction where King’s X brings that uniqueness in question. The group offers an amalgamation of just about all forms of hard music, including heavy metal, straightforward hard rock, progressive rock, funk, blues and even occasional doom tendencies.
Such an all over the map style propensity, obviously, helps make it problematic to pigeonhole the group in terms of any one specific segment or genre.
Hence, we find a label of “technical metal with an emotional edge” proves sufficient.
Other critics, at the same time, encounter the same challenge when it comes to classifying King’s X.
One described the group as “driving, melodic rock, bolstered by intricate layering (and) rumbling 12-string bass textures (that will) appeal to metal, alternative, progressive and mainstream fans alike”, while another suggested a “(merging of) Black Sabbath styled riffs, Beatlesque harmonies and the soul of Sly and the Family Stone”.
A reviewer back in the day even went to far as to state that “King’s X sounds like what Rush might have sounded like, had they remained a metal band and fired Alex Lifeson in favor of Stevie Ray Vaughan”.
The fact is all of the above apply to varying degrees in painting an accurate picture of the at times eclectic but always creative King’s X sound.
My overall feeling is that “Out Of The Silent Planet” represents the heaviest and most consistently guitar driven of the early King’s X releases. It would not be inaccurate, for instance, to label the album metal and hard rock keeping in mind the musical divergences the group brings to the table.
The album runs the gamut from the ploddingly powerful and at times doom-ish tinctures of “In The New Age” and “Visions” to the high energy and hook based mentality of “King” and “Shot Of Love”. Close listen to guitarist Ty Tabor’s delectable soloing on these four reveals why he was one of the most versatile axeman from the era.
In between, the band delivers a pair of slower tracks in which it makes use of big, soulful vocal harmonies, moving and ethereal based ballad “Goldilox” and laid back and easy going “Far, Far Away”.
Maintaining the moody disposition are “Wonder”, interweaving churning guitars with sitar, and “What Is This?”, darker and bass guitar driven in upholding the same heavier underpinnings.
Time changes presents themselves on “Sometimes” and “Power Of Love”, both starting at a measured and bottom heavy pace only to break out for explosive choruses that successfully reach for a more accessible sound.
The usual, excellent Rock Candy 16 page full color booklet with 3500 word essay and interview with Doug (now known as dUg) Pinnick is pretty revealing. The interview go into detail about the bands background, which traces itself to the late Seventies.
It started in 1979 when vocalist Greg X. Volz contacted Pinnick and drummer Jerry Gaskill about joining Petra. When that fell through with the (at the time) break up of Petra, the two hired on for a year as Phil Keaggy’s touring rhythm section in support of his 1980 solo album.
It was during this period that Pinnick and Gaskill first met Tabor, who was playing drums for a band opening a show for Keaggy in Springfield, Missouri.
Rated by the famous Kerrang! magazine with ‘5 K’, I always ranked “Out Of The Silent Planet” a notch below King’s X following masterpiece titled Gretchen Goes To Nebraska (coming here soon) due to some slight rawness to production.
That, however, all changed with this great Rock Candy reissue of the album, 24-bit digitally remastered. This detailed remaster has cleaned-up things up significantly, with the end result the crisper, cleaner and brighter sound that allows “Out Of The Silent Planet” to equally stand alongside its two successors.
This is one of the finest and most innovative hard rock / metal albums from the Eighties, ahead of its time.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – In The New Age
02 – Goldilox
03 – Power Of Love
04 – Wonder
05 – Sometimes
06 – King
07 – What Is This
08 – Far, Far Away
09 – Shot Of Love
10 – Visions
Doug Pinnick – bass / vocals
Ty Tabor – guitar / vocals
Jerry Gaskill – drums / vocals
BUY IT !