CD Box Set Review: King’s X- In The New Age: The Atlantic Years

Aaron ConnMusic, ReviewsLeave a Comment

kings x box set

kings x box setHNE, a Cherry Red label, have released another box set. This time, the box set is devoted to Missouri power trio King’s X. The set, In The New Age, is a box set devoted to the band’s first six albums released on Atlantic Records. As to be expected, the set comes in the familiar clamshell packaging Cherry Red are known for. In The New Age is a solid box set from Cherry Red and should leave all music lovers happy.

A Little History
King’s X were originally formed in 1979 as The Edge. By 1983, they changed their name to Sneak Preview before changing it again in 1985 to King’s X. For nearly four decades, the band’s line up has remained the same: bassist/singer Doug Pinnick, guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill. In their career, King’s X has been classified under several genres: progressive metal, hard rock alternative metal and even Christian rock. From 1988 to 1995, King’s X were signed to Atlantic Records and released six albums.

Given this is a box set, I will do this review album by album.

 

Out of the silent planet
Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Released in 1988, Out of the Silent Planet is a pleasant and even joyous debut. Right off the bat, the band are knee deep in the progressive metal waters. Then again, some songs have a psychedelic or funk ridden flair to them. Pinnick takes on most of the vocals, while Tabor sings on a few tunes as well. Lyrically, the songs have a religious overtone to them but also with touches of philosophical meanings. Overall, this is a solid debut album.

Favorite songs: In The New Age, Goldilox, King, What Is This?, Sometimes
Rating: 7/10

 

gretchen goes to NebraskaGretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
For many, the band’s sophomore effort is their strongest. Given the liner notes contained a short story of the same name written by Gaskill, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska is usually referred to as   a concept album. Listening to the album, the twelve songs on Gretchen don’t really refer to or mention the story. If anything, the songs cover some of the same ground as the debut- with more focus on world issues. Musically, the psychedelic elements are taken up a notch, with many of the songs having a Beatle-esque harmonies on them. Of the six albums in the set, Gretchen is my personal favorite.

Favorite songs: Out of the Silent Planet, Over my Head, Mission, Summerland, The Burning Down
Rating: 7/10

 

Faith Hope Love (1990)
faith love hopeAs the band’s first album from the 1990s, Faith Hope Love would be the band’s most commercially successful album. Musically, the album picks up where Gretchen left off. If anything was more predominant, it would be the soul and funk elements of the songs. While a consistent album, this is where the King’s X albums begin to get longer. With this being from the age of the CD, albums were becoming longer and longer. Faith Hope Love clocks in at a little over an hour, which is a bit much. Despite some downsides, Faith Hope Love is still worth listening to.

Favorite songs: It’s Love, Moanjam, We Are Finding Out Who We Are, Six Broken Soldiers, I Can’t Help It
Rating: 7/10

 

King’s X (1992)
Kings X self titledRelease during grunge’s surging popularity, the band’s self-titled fourth album is more of alternative metal affair. While the prog and psychedelic elements are still in the mix, the album has an overall brash feel to it compared to the sometimes warm and welcoming vibes of the first three. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually refreshing to hear the band change things up. While not as long as Faith Hope Love, this album still comes in at a little over 50 minutes. Even then, this isn’t a bad album at all.

Favorite Songs: Black Flag, Lost in Germany, Chariot Song, The World Around Me
Rating: 7/10

 

Dogman (1994)
dogmanWith the release of Dogman, the band’s sound was now seeped in the 1990s. This isn’t a bad thing, mind you. It’s just the music on Dogman sounds like it could’ve come from any of the grunge bands.  Dogman is another consistent effort with heavy riffs and more brash production.  In some ways, the songs on here might be better than the ones on the self-titled album. If any downsides, Doug Pinnick sings every song on the album. While Pinnick is a fine singer, it would’ve been nice to have heard Ty Tabor sing a few songs. As it is, Dogman is another decent album.

Favorite Songs: Dogman, Pretend, Complain, Fool You
Rating: 6.5/10

 

Ear Candy (1995)
Ear CandyOf the six albums in this set, Ear Candy is the weakest. Still, there’s some good music on here. As the title would suggest, Ear Candy is a psychedelic effort and almost return to form after the one-two alt/grunge punch of King’s X and Dogman. If anything, Ear Candy is a mish mash of everything from the first five albums. Lyrically, the band delved deeper into songs about everyday life and people. While it might be weakest in the set, Ear Candy is another solid batch of tune.

Favorite Songs: A Box, The Train, Picture, Fathers
Rating: 6/10

 

Conclusion
In the New Age is a great box set of albums. From its packaging to the actual music, it’s great for both new and old fans. In regard to new fans, they might want to think twice before buying this: there is a little under five hours of music spread across these six discs. With these albums being made in during the age of the CD, this set will take time to get through. Even, In the New Age is an all-around solid set of albums from one of rock’s most underrated bands.

 

kings x group pic

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Aaron ConnCD Box Set Review: King’s X- In The New Age: The Atlantic Years