KING KING – Exile & Grace (2017)
The previous KING KING record surprised us greatly with their mature, soulful sound. After listening to their new album “Exile & Grace” released today I can see why Black Country Communion has chosen King King as supporting band for their next tour.
King King really do make this kind of Classic Rock thing sound so effortless. Having bagged yet more bluesy gongs over the past year or so, this fourth album and follow-up to 2015’s Reaching For The Light finds the band on top form, the warmth and power of their sound given a welcome tougher, riffier edge by a muscular mix from Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters).
‘Tear It All Up’ and opener ‘(She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ are the main tracks benefitting from grittier guitars, but the entire album has a ballsier feel than before.
They rock hard enough to suggest their recent arena tour has helped shape their riff driven material into a coherent new direction.
They maintain the momentum on the muscular funky groove of ‘Heed The Warning’, which boasts one of the best hooks on the album, while ‘Long Time Running’ in particular boast a wonderfully confident bluesy swagger.
‘Broken’ and ‘Find Your Way Home’ do the whole soulful thing the band already carry off so well. ‘Broken’ even sports a little AOR feeling (akin Thunder) with a good use of harmony vocals and a sweeping organ on a heartfelt piece that in spite of the doomy lyrics has an anthemic feel.
The band is gracious in its appreciation of the musical influences – Whitesnake, Bad Company and Thunder with Thin Lizzy style harmony guitars on ‘Betrayed Me’.
On the other hand, ‘I Don’t Wanna Lie’ mix some Bonamassa commercial riffs with some vintage, lovely Gary Moore soloing.
Several years passed since King King set out as a blues band and since then they’ve moved more towards a stadium rock sound. They’ve sharpened their riffs, honed their songcraft and put all their trust in booming memorable choruses.
And if each album so far has been a progression in terms of songwriting, then ‘Exile & Grace’ fully reveals the band’s stylistic hand.
Most of the material is centred round Alan Nimmo’s intense guitar work and is offset by Bob Fridzema’s keys, as it shifts from bone crunching rock to subtle grooves that bubble up and draw the listener in.
If the title of King King’s last studio album Reaching For The Light was a statement of intent, then “Exile & Grace” cements the deal for a hard rocking band with a bluesy heart and an armoury of riffs powerful enough to help project them on to the next level.
With not an ounce of songwriting fat on display, every song contributes to the overwhelming sense of a band enjoying a seriously creative purple patch. Long may it run.
01 – (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’
02 – Heed the Warning
03 – Broken
04 – Find Your Way Home
05 – Tear It All Up
06 – Betrayed Me
07 – Long Time Running
08 – Nobody Knows Your Name
09 – I Don’t Wanna Lie
Alan Nimmo – lead vocals, guitars
Bob Fridzema – keyboards, vocals
Lindsay Coulson – bass, vocals
Wayne Proctor – drums
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