Friday, May 2, 2014

Review of KXM's KXM

Despite having the plainest band name this side of T&N, KXM is one of the more intriguing lineups that has come together in recent years. The supergroup, consisting of King's X vocalist/bassist dUg Pinnick, Dokken/Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch, and Korn drummer Ray Luzier, allegedly formed on a whim at a son's birthday party and a debut quickly materialized from there. The results don't quite reach the dream team expectations but do have a solid feel that could only be made by such adaptable veterans.

For the most part, KXM has a style that successfully combines elements of each musician's main bands. The tone is decidedly modern as the production is polished, the guitar has some static to go with its bite, and the songs are often driven by melodic choruses when the percussive, mid-tempo riffs aren't on display. The integration is best seen on the grungy "Burn" though the hooks on "Faith Is A Room" and "Gunfight" do have a nice, familiar feeling to them.

The band members also show a lot of chemistry for such a spontaneous project. In a surprising twist, Luzier's performance may be the most interesting as his tribal aesthetics help keep songs like "Stars" and "Human Friction" from sounding too flat. Fortunately, the other two aren't upstaged as Pinnick's voice is as pleasant as ever and Lynch has a few of his signature tricks left.

Unfortunately, the album is brought down by its middle of the road approach. Perhaps I'm just longing for an odd cross between Back For The Attack and Dogman but it would've been great to see a lineup of this caliber bring their pop sensibilities or just abandon it all in favor of some looser jamming. Songs like "Rescue Me" do show signs of a more upbeat undercurrent and "Tranquilized" does make for a decent instrumental bonus track, but they're offset by a few clunkers that just feel too slow.

Overall, KXM's debut falls into a few of usual supergroup traps while still leaving room for future development. It isn't an essential album by any means but most rock fans should be able to get an easy feel for it and it may whet the appetites of those who've wondered why King's X hasn't released anything new in six years. I'd just go for Black Country Communion or the Winery Dogs if you want to hear the best supergroups of the 2010s.

"Rescue Me"
"Faith is A Room"

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