01. Heartbeats 02. Braveheart 03. Bang Guns 04. A Million Dollars 05. .45 06. What's Gotten Into Me 07. Black Rifle 08. God Is Watching 09. Wade In The Water 10. Sing Me To Sleep2019 self-released
If nothing else, King 810's career thus far has been interesting. With lyrics worthy of being written on a junior high school desk, a vocal delivery that appeals directly to the juggalo crowd, and a gimmick that included Public Enemy style "security" equipped with assault rifles on stage, it seems like the band should be easily written off by anyone that has officially hung up their JNCOs. Yet, as a person who lived his formative years during the heyday of nu-metal, I think I can actually understand the strange appeal to the group's seemingly juvenile approach. It's music to lift to, mosh to and, if necessary, release your angst to. Sometimes you just want something you don't have to think about. During their heavier moments they've been a generic beatdown band with played-out, uninspired riffs, but King 810 have shown some hints at being something more. Sections of acoustic guitars, keys and string arrangements added a more melodic and artistic depth to their 2016 release, La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God. They even put out an EP completely devoid of heavy material in 2017. Unfortunately, the band was unable to overcome two major obstacles: the successful fusion of two polarizing sounds, and vocalist David Gunn's inability to branch out from reusing the same children's book cadenced vocal line in nearly every song. The group's third full-length album sees the band moving in yet another direction. Most of Suicide King exists at the intersection of Insane Clown Posse, Korn and Emmure. For whatever it's worth, if you are actually still reading after that description, it's somehow not as bad as it sounds. King 810 can be crushingly heavy ("Braveheart") and sometimes even work in some clever hooks ("A Million Dollars"). And there is something to be said about including a track like "Black Rifle," which is some sort of apocalyptic hybrid of a pop song, complete with pounding kick drum and hand claps. Still, it's difficult to overcome Gunn's vocal resemblance to ICP. On tracks like ".45" and "What's Gotten Into Me," King 810 ditch the heavy backdrop for 808-inspired hip hop beats. Sadly, Gunn's rapping style is really just him speaking slowly through gritted teeth. It's the same type of maniacal façade that the wicked Clowns themselves utilize. Now, I don't doubt Gunn comes from a fucked up place; the tales he lyrically tells of street life in Flint, MI take you to darker depths than a Geto Boys record. But the delivery of his vocals comes off as your stereotypical horror movie villain, doing a disservice to the material's serious nature. Gunn actually does a good Jonathan Davis impression in the chorus of the floundering "God Is Watching," a song that spends its three and a half minutes waiting for something to happen. And that's really just what a lot of Suicide King is, some ideas that never quite flesh out into anything substantial. "Bang Guns" rap verses and heavy refrains clash rather than complement and closer "Sing Me To Sleep" is essentially a build-up to a climactic finish that never comes. I do have to give King 810 credit for "Wade In The Water," an intriguing number featuring the chorus of the titular gospel tune. This, like their mellower EP, is actually where the band largely succeeds. With the ability to spread themselves out, King 810 actually sound more comfortable. The song builds momentum through underlying currents of synths and string arrangements, leaning on the familiar melody at the base. It's the standout moment of an otherwise mundane record. Bottom Line: Suicide King is a step up from King 810's previous releases, however, it's a short step at that. The heavy moments are too brainless and the hip hop influenced moments are too cliché, while its few highlights don't do enough to keep this record afloat.
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