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KXM

Scatterbrain

Review by Larry Toering
In 2014, KXM debuted with a very hot album, and the follow up (Scatterbrain)  is an even better release. In fact, I included it in my MSJ top 2017 album list. The combo of these three players doesn’t come along every day, and it’s a monster sound. But a strong case for prog can be made, at least in the metal-prog sense, because not only is just about everything else dUg Pinnick does prog, but the power trio concept and the song themes on both of the albums alone push the prog buttons without question. It’s not the usual light George Lynch can be seen in either, but it gives him a chance to stretch out a lot. The result is an over the top sophomore effort from this killer band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Scatterbrain
The lead off track is so full of everything you’d expect from this band that it speaks volumes galore for itself. The time signature changes are off the charts, and it’s as progressive as it is heavy with George Lynch fitting in a cosmic solo.
Breakout
It’s hard to think that they can change it up so fast and stay so heavy in the process, but this is how they do it. The track has an overall Soundgarden vibe to it. It’s funky and it flat out rocks, with the drums of Ray Luzier taking a front seat.
Big Sky Country
All of these songs are big sounding, and that’s the point of the band. They do nothing small, but this track does follow more of a storyline pace. It’s political, but then most of both KXM albums explore the topic in different ways. This clearly makes a statement without being redundant about it. I love the bullhorn, which is occasionally used.
Calypso
This is another story altogether, with an esoteric vocal entry that turns into a pile driving song with all kinds of cool percussion. It’s easy to see that this band have gelled into a fun group of players.
Not a Single Word
The groove takes a turn in the AOR direction on this one, with a mainstream pace that none of the previous tracks get into. It’s a radio friendly number, which most of their tracks aren’t. The combo proves to work on every level, because this is as good as anything on else the disc. 
Obsession
This goes through a rollercoaster of changes and makes one of the stronger cases for prog. The music might be heavy, but there are light parts, and the way they combine it all makes you think more than move, as groovy as it is. This is awesome.
Noises In The Sky
This is where the album slows down and becomes more comprehensive and enjoyable. This is probably my favorite track on the set. It’s as good as the day hard rock started in the late 60s. All the influences are there, and you just can’t beat this guy for a front man, as well as find as interesting guitar solos these days. Check out the video clip for more of what’s a lot to describe on this gem.
Panic Attack
The groove is a lot more-steady on this track with a slab back drum sound, but Pinnick still manages to keep your attention and make this one of the most accessible tracks. Beyond that, Lynch takes this one to another level, as well. 
It’s Never Enough
This is another accessible track like the previous one, this time without Lynch taking it into another galaxy. It’s still a killer song, even if it can be considered a filler of sorts.
True Deceivers
This is vocally one of the best moments on the album for Pinnick, so it goes to him for the most efforts. The band follow his lead and do it very well, but it’s more of a groove with some crunchy (yet very understated) playing from Lynch.
Stand
The urban vibe to this is very strong, and the abstract vocal approach is very-unique before it starts rocking in the usual order. It’s probably one of the more personal numbers. It is a little harder to get into, but this album has something for every type of rocker. This reminds of Thin Lizzy and King’s X meeting up for a gunfight in the high desert. 
Together
Another fine display of percussion by Ray Luzier lights the way for this track with a major prog feel to it. But it’s probably one of the darkest tracks, too. 
Angel
The set closes with a ballad, and it’s a sweet track to end a great album. You’re really wanting a slower track by this time, and boy do they deliver it right with some tasty acoustics.
 
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