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King's X

In The New Age: The Atlantic Recordings 1988-1995

Review by Gary Hill

King's X, in my opinion, is one of the most under-rated bands out there. Their sound is compelling and catchy and yet meaty and quirky. They don't really sound like anyone else. Their sound is varied, but it is also instantly recognizable. They blend proggy things with metal, hard rock, funk and more to create something wholly original. This new six-CD box set gathers up their six albums that were release on Atlantic. Each album has at least one bonus track. All the discs are enclosed in cardboard sleeves. An informative booklet is included, and it's all encased in a cardboard clamshell box. This is a classy set and a great way to jump-start your King's X collection.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1: Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
In the New Age

Spacey trippiness gets us underway here. That holds it for the first minute-and-a-half or so. Then some metallic stomping comes in from there. There is an almost Beatles-like accessibility to some of the song as it continues. This is driving, dramatic and dynamic. It's also very potent.

Coming in hard-edged, this drops to something more like a power ballad approach. There is a real classic rocking sound built into this. It's edgy and classy, while also somehow classic. I really dig the expressive guitar soloing on this thing.
Power of Love
I really love the riff driven hard rocking sounds on this cut. It's trademark King's X with a complex vocal arrangement and slightly left-of-center sound. It has another particularly potent guitar solo section, too. This number gets especially intense at times.
Melodic, proggy, mellower sounds bring this into being. The vocals come over the top of this backdrop. The track turns harder rocking after the first vocal section. It continues building from there.
Riff driven and more metallic as it gets underway, this is another killer rocker with all the King's X trademarks. The closing instrumental movement is so meaty.
Another rocking groove gets us going here. This has all the quirks and stylistic touches you expect from this band. It has a lot of energy a killer vocal arrangement.
What Is This?
After a driving introduction, this drops to some trippier stuff for some unusual vocals. This gets into more expected territory as it rocks out from there. The trippy section returns, though. This thing gets to powerful as it continues to evolve with the next harder rocking movement.
Far, Far Away
Hard rocking, yet also accessible and mainstream in some ways, this is another classy tune. I think it's perhaps not quite up to the level of some of the other stuff on the album, though. The instrumental section with its slight Beatles angles and psychedelic leanings works so well, though.
Shot of Love
I dig the cool vibe and groove on this song a lot. It has some catchy hooks as counter-balance. It's another winner on a disc that's full of great music.
The vocal arrangement works really well on this. There are also some particularly meaty riffs here. They supercharge this into a frantic jam mid-track that has some scorching guitar soloing. It gets back to the song proper for a time, but they take out into the fast paced stuff again as it gets ready to end.
CD 2: Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Out of the Silent Planet

Psychedelic space starts this. Eventually they drive it out into a killer hard rocking groove. They take it out into more trippiness later in the piece with that psychedelia firmly on display. It gets back to the song proper after a time to take it out.

Over My Head
This is a killer metallic screamer. It has some hints of jazz here and there, though. This gets twisted from mainstream with more distinctive King's X trademarks. At times this track makes me think of something Glenn Hughes might do. There is definitely some funk in the mix on this thing.
I really dig the expansive jamming on this number. Beyond that it's more of the same kind of King's X trademarks you expect when you listen to them. The vocals get especially impassioned on this song.
Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something
This is a real powerhouse. It is a track that I think I would call heavy metal. Then again, it's metal done King's X's way.
The Difference (In the Garden of St. Anne's-On-The- Hill)
Acoustically driven, this has a real balladic groove to it. It makes me think of what you might get if you merged Poco and the Beatles. It gets more involved, but never really rises up to hard rocking or electric.
I'll Never Be the Same
A killer riff gets things going here. The track works through a number of things and includes a scorching hot jam later that serves as the extended outro.
Organ gets us started. After the introduction that gives way to the more familiar instrumentation as this powers forward. It's a trademark King's X arrangement. This is another effective song on a disc full of great music.
Fall on Me
The riff that opens this makes me think of Stevie Ray Vaughan to some degree. This modulates to more of the kind of thing you expect from King's X. It's driving and effective. This has a scorching hot guitar solo built into it. This one has some definite metallic edges.
There are some proggy and jam band angles to this, but it's also hard rocking and metallic. It's an inventive and dynamic cut with a lot of intriguing angles in place.
Don't Believe It (It's Easier Said Than Done)
I really dig the tones and melodies on the instrumental section to this number. The whole cut has a great groove and so much style and charm.
Send a Message
Coming in metallic, this is a killer rocking tune that has some real melodic angles. It's instantly recognizable as King's X, but it's also unique. This is another winner. The guitar on this piece is on fire.
The Burning Down
More melodic, this has an extended instrumental section later that features the rhythm section and turns a bit spacey, proggy. I find this to be a unique and fascinating piece of music.
Bonus Tracks:
Shot of Love (Acoustic Version)

This has an almost bluesy angle in this arrangement. The full vocal arrangement really shines here.

Over My Head (Edit)
This edit of the rocker works well. It seems a bit more immediate in some ways.
CD 3: Faith Hope Love (1990)
We Are Finding Who We Are

Kick ass metallic riffing starts this. The tune works out with a dense vocal arrangement and stripped back instrumental arrangement. This gets into more metal zones as it continues. There is a percussion and vocal segment at the end that really lets the voices shine.

It's Love
More of a melodic, almost psychedelic, groove emerges here. It has plenty of the hard rock that you expect from King's X in the mix along with Beatles-like angles. It's another classy slab of sound. The instrumental section late in the tune is on fire.
I'll Never Get Tired of You
A balladic approach brings this into being. It becomes more of a power ballad, with more rocking sections emerging. It has some particularly strong moments, too.
Fine Art of Friendship
I really dig the heavy riffing on this song. It has some intriguing evolution and lots of King's X trademarks. The jam later that eventually ends it is scorching hot.
Mr. Wilson
Coming in as more of a melodic slow rocker, this is another classy tune. This has plenty of growth and change, and a hard-edged instrumental section features some intriguing guitar work.
A faster number this has some metallic edges and a lot of class. The guitar soloing later on this is on fire. Then again so is that whole jam section. It is just so crazed and intense.
Six Broken Soldiers
I have to admit that a lot of the strange falsetto stuff on this song doesn't work for me. I like the experimental nature of the track, though. The cut is a big stretch, but only so successful. There are some more standard King's X elements at play at times, too.
I Can't Help It
More trademark King's X sounds are on display here. I love the psychedelically tinged guitar that comes along later in the track. The section where the bass really stands out is a great touch, too.
Talk to You
Heavy and fairly frantic, this is a metallic powerhouse of a tune. It still has plenty of King's X trademark sounds, though.
Everywhere I Go
Coming in mellower, this is more of a melodic rocker. I really like the lush and rich vocal arrangement on this song, particularly in the later portions of it.
We Were Born to Be Loved
We're back into fierce hard rocking zones on this frantic rocker. There are some cool distant vocals at times on this song. The number has a lot of soul and funk in the mix.
Faith Hope Love
I really dig the Beatles-like parts of this. The whole cut has so much of the trademark King's X charm that I can clearly see why they chose to make it the title track. This evolves in some great ways. That Beatles thing is all over a lot of this. There is plenty of psychedelia here, too. This is one of my all-time favorites from the band. It's just so packed full of great stuff.
Legal Kill
Acoustic guitar brings this into being. This is a pretty ballad and includes some flute and violin. It's melodic and so strong. It's a big change, but a very effective one. They bring in a famous Christmas carol at the end of the song.
Bonus Track:
Six Broken Soldiers (Extended Version)

We get an extended version of the one song on here that really didn't gel for me. As you can imagine, that's not a great choice from my point of view. If you liked it the first time, you get more of what you enjoyed.

CD 4: King's X (1992)
The World Around Me

This fires in with frantic and meaty metal sounds. Even as the vocals join this feels more like pure metal. There are still things that label this as King's X, but it has some pure metal at its core.

More trademark King's X in nature, this still has a healthy helping of metal in the mix. It's a fast cut with some definite prog angles at times, too. I don't know if I'd actually call this heavy metal, but it definitely has more of that commodity in the mix than a lot of other music here does. It' also has the killer riffing and vocal arrangement you expect from this band.
The Big Picture
A less intense track as it starts, this still gets very impassioned and intense at times. It has so much emotion and style packed into it. This is more along the lines of the standard King's X sound.
Lost in Germany
The riffing on this is particularly meaty, and this cut has a lot of that metal edge. It's another King's X powerhouse.
Chariot Song
There are definitely a lot of Beatles elements at play here. This has some symphonic angles, but it gets super-heavy at times, too. It's one of my favorites on this whole set. The mix of sounds is unique and yet it's a catchy rocker.
Ooh Song
Heavy and metallic, this rocker is an energetic one. This is a strong tune with plenty of King's X trademarks. It leans toward progressive rock at times.
Not Just for the Dead
This cut has a lot of psychedelia in the mix and some definite Beatles leanings. We even get some sitar in this cut. Of course, they turn it harder rocking and really bring their own flavors to it. This is a particularly catchy number, though. The instrumental section at the end goes full in on the psychedelic angles.
What I Know About Love
There are hints of the heavy side of King Crimson as this gets underway. It has a real metallic angle to it. The vocal arrangement on this is particularly complex and cool. There is some killer guitar work on the later parts of this.
Black Flag
Great bluesy riff driven rock is at the center of this rocker. It's another that's unmistakable as King's X. It's also another effective song.
Dream in My Life
A mellower tune, there is a dream-like quality to a lot of this. It's still got some hard-edges and sections to it, though. It's also trademark King's X.
Silent Wind
I dig the hard edges of this rocker so much. It's very much exactly what you expect from this band, but the vocal arrangement is among the best. I love the guitar solo section, too. It has such an intriguing sound to it. There is a cool instrumental outro that features classical organ music.
Bonus Track:
Dream in My Life (Edit)

As you can probably guess from the title and parenthetical, here we have an edit of the earlier tune.

CD 5: Dogman (1994)

They drive in hard rocking and pretty fierce. This is another leans toward the metal end of the spectrum. It definitely has plenty of trademark King's X sounds, though.


Starting with a multilayered acapella arrangement, this eventually works out to some smoking hot blues rock with metallic edges.

More hard rocking King's X magic is on the menu here. There aren't any big surprises on this cut, but it's just so strong.
Flies and Blue Skies
A slower moving and reflective cut, this is very classy. It's trademark King's X. I think this is another standout track on the whole set for me. It just seems to gel so well. There is some particularly tasty guitar work built into this thing, too.
Black the Sky
A killer metallic romp, this is another standout track. It's still unmistakable as King's X, but there is just something extra special about this groove. This really turns heavy late.
Fool You
More of an alternative rock sound is on the menu here. Of course, that's run through the machine that is King's X. This is another solid tune, but I don't think it's at the level of the last couple. I really dig the proggy sort of thing that takes over later, though.
Don't Care
A dynamic and complex track that manages to thrill, this rocks. While it's not a big change at all, it is effective. Then again, just about everything from this band works so well. There is a crazed jam late in the track that ends it.
Sunshine Rain
Coming in melodic and mellower, there are definitely metallic prog elements at play here. This gets into more rocking zones in another classy arrangement as it continues building.
Fast-paced and fairly fierce, this is a real rocking tune. It's another classy one on a set that has no shortage of great music.
Human Behavior
Another hard rocking groove, this isn't a big stretch. It works so well, though.
This tune has a good balance between mellower and more rocking sounds. It has some great hooks, too. I really dig the expansive jam later in the number a lot.
Go to Hell
The opening section of this is frantic and rather punky. We're taken after a time into more typical King's X territory from there.
This is another King's X blast of music. It's not a big change, but it works well.
Manic Depression
Here they cover Jimi Hendrix in a live performance. They really capture that Hendrix sound very well. They play this pretty playful, but turn it loose like crazy on the instrumental break. This is a great cover.
Bonus Tracks:
hoes (Live)
There is some audience participation on this live performance. This is a killer rocker performed with a lot of energy.
We Were Born to Be Loved (Live)
Fierce and driving, this is another live powerhouse with all the King's X trademarks in place.
CD 6: Ear Candy (1995)
The Train

Coming in seriously metallic, this gets into more of an alternative rock sound. Still, it's full King's X treatment and has some cool hooks. There is a bit of psychedelically inspired part, too.

(Thinking and Wondering) What I'm Gonna Do
Psychedelic Beatles-like sounds get us going here. It's a pretty classic King's X styled number.
Another that doesn't really stretch the sound, this is nonetheless effective. These guys are so creative and unique that they create a musical concept that is all their own.
A Box
This melodic rocker is another solid King's X tune. It has some tasty guitar work and a solid song structure. There are no surprises here, but a lot of class.
Looking for Love
I love this powerhouse rocker. It has so much classic King's X sound, but also plenty of rocking riff-driven cool. There is some meaty guitar work on this, too.
Mississippi Moon
Alternative rock, Americana and more are on the menu here. This is another classy slab of trademark King's X music.
This is unusual. It has some cool hard rocking sound. Some of the vocals are unusual, and the whole thing feels a bit more experimental. Yet, it's still unmistakable as King's X. The late instrumental section is on fire.
Lies in the Sand (The Ballad of...)
A mellower tune as it gets underway, this is slower moving. It's not a big change, but another effective tune.
This powerhouse rocker is furious and driving. Still a trademark sounding tune, this works particularly well.
Coming in hard-edged and furious, this tune drops back to a more stripped back arrangement for the entrance of the vocals.
American Cheese (Jerry's Piano)
I really dig the almost jazzy vibe to this track. This is a big change. It has some definite Beatles elements at play and a lot of 1970s rock, too. This is one of my favorites of the set.
Coming in with a mellower arrangement, this powers up into more hard rocking zones, but alternates between those two sounds as it continues. There are some definite psychedelic and prog things at play in the cool instrumental section later.
Life Going By
While this is not ground-shaking change, it has plenty of class and style. I really dig some of the guitar work a lot, and the hooks are great.
Bonus Tracks:
Freedom (B-Side)

I like the meaty power pop meets edgy alternative rock and more on this tune. It's not a big change for the band, but rather just another effective rocker with their fingerprints all over it.

A Box (Edit)
Here we get an edited version of the earlier track. I bet you got that from the title and parenthetical, huh?
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