""Black Flag" is a perfectly good example of why record companies should not pick the single off of the album. Because of their work you may not yet have heard the hook scientist Dr. Ty Tabor at work on "Lost In Germany". This excellent album is an important transitional step for anyone who was completely shocked by Dogman (as I was) after the hippy-trippy "Faith Hope Love" - you'll quickly understand once you're beaten down by the heavy opener "The World Around Me". Songs like "Chariot Song" and the slow, grinding, mega-heavy "Ooh Song" show exactly where the X was going to land, although maybe with a little more deference to their past. "Not Just For The Dead" and "The World Around Me" also show the not-so-subtle Christian leanings in their early lyrics. (The former is also the final appearance as of yet of the sitar on a KX album). But just in case those songs might scare you off a little take a listen to "The Big Picture". That song just makes my eyes watery thinking about listening to it - its the ultimate catharsis, its like being in the center of a hundred black baptist choirs, led by a wildly screaming Doug Pinnick, utterly sublimated by the sheer force and power of its emanating aura of goodness - and lord help me Ty's solo on this song is freakin' otherworldly. The second half of the disc has "Dream In My Life", a pretty ballad which has another mega-dose of Ty at the end, overdubbing something like 12 guitars playing at once. Otherwise "Silent Wind" and "Black Flag" bring down the quality a bit - just a bit. (4-1/2 stars)"
A great place to start... and to come back to again and agai
Brian S. Van Kley | Oswego, IL USA | 05/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm writing this review after having just seen King's X in concert for the third time. In preparation for the concert, I spent the week reviewing, rotating all of their CD's through my car CD player over the course of the week. When I got to their self titled album, I noticed (for the first time) how stripped town Jerry's drumming is on "World Around Me," a song that I've liked for many years. It amazed me that after all these years (about 15?) I am still finding little easter eggs of brilliance ALL OVER that album.
This was my first King's X album, and I recommend it to any first-time listener for the following reasons: -It still has moments that sound like their Gretchen days -It foreshadows what comes later, like Dogman and the amazing new Ogre Tones -It still contains hints of their spiritual roots (okay, more than a few hints... some very cool / obscure references that only you biblical scholars out there might actually catch on first listen) -It is an album that continues to amaze me, even after 15 years of fairly consistent listening.
If you like rock that makes you think... A LOT... you need to check out this band, and especially this album.
(I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because the album always strikes me as inconsistent... the funny thing is, there are songs on that album that take a while to grow on you. I never liked Big Picture when I first got that album, but years later, it's so much like moments in Ogre Tones that I find that it has become one of my favorite of their songs.)"
One of their best efforts!
Sandman | Canada | 05/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been a while since I picked up this cd and it's about time I told the world how great this cd is.
It truly encompasses what King's X is all about. Clean melodic guitars, bass tone to die for and absolutely wonderful hocks and melodies. It really doesn't get any better than this. Ty Tabor's guitar work is refreshing and refined and Doug Pinnick's bass tone and his vocal style are first rate. All the songs on here are catchy and you can easily sing along to them if you feel up to it. Your senses will love how beautifully this cd rolls along. It's just like a hot knife through butter (to quote Kiss), I love it!
All in all this band is one of the worlds greatest mystery's as they truly DO NOT get the recognition they deserve.
They have had some average offerings along the way as they've tried to play with their style somewhat in order to get more main stream. This was only done to try and satisfy their record labels greed to make money, however this offering is not one of those efforts. This puppy totally kicks ass!!
King's X is a great band that only a few know anything about!! "
King's X (Since Hector Was A Pup)
Mr. S. St Thomas | UK | 11/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ties that bound Sam Taylor and King's X come to an end on this album, but this is the last of the four 'must have' albums in their catalogue. It's up to you to decide if King's X were ever the same band after being in the midst of Taylor's production, or if they were ever the same again after repeatedly trying to gain commercial success, while other bands imitated their sound and got away with the rewards.
Faith, Hope, Love was an altogether different kettle of fish than their first two albums, and their fourth album is different to that as well. I have actually never heard one King's X album sound quite like the other, they have always changed, and never more so than on their first major label release for Atlantic King's X 4, which was originally entitled Since Hector Was A Pup.
There is a far more commercial side to this album than on previous releases, as if they were truly going for broke with this release, but in no way does that compromise their sound, as the same elements that are on their first three releases are still there. The nods to Black Sabbath/The Beatles/Jimi Hendrix/Sly & The Family Stone/Stevie Wonder, and a host of others is still there, but all meshed into what King's X sounded like.
For me, this is their least accessible album of the first four, even with its obvious commerciality! One has to be a bit familiar with what they had previously done, to actually understand how much is accomplished on their fourth album. It in effect, sums up where they were, where they are, and where they were heading with their next release DOGMAN.
There are moments on this album that are truly beautiful, particularly The Big Picture, which showcases how much passion Pinnick can sing with, as he sings about a past that seems somehow smaller than the bigger picture reveals. It's moments like this on any album that can bring forth an emotional response in any consumer, and truly a gift that any artist would hope to have -- to be able to relate an experience totally different than your own, but still make you feel something in common or kindred with it. King's X, regardless of any Christian tag, is accessible to anyone, and the Christian tag was always undeserved. It was made by people who saw certain words and automatically required it be labelled something, when many of the musical influences, and lyrical passages, suggested something quite different than secular promotion. King's X never hammered me over the head with piousness. It never seemed to be an issue when I listened to them. I was simply amazed at how much talent was within the band, and how well the three musicians worked together. To me, they made other bands sound like they were still rehearsing material.
What is on this album more than the others, is an abundance of harmony vocals and augmentation with other instruments in a way that changed King's X's sound considerably, but as I said they seemed to go for broke on this album hoping for commerical success. This does not compromise the sound of this band though, because underneath are some incredibly catchy guitar hooks, moments of singalong joy, and the phenomenal vocal talents of Doug Pinnick.The album seems split between the heaviness of Pinnick's songwriting, and the melodic leanings of Tabor's, moreso than the other releases. It's the combination of the two that works so well, and Gaskill's drumming throughout.
It's hard to describe how Gaskill makes this band work the way it does, but it would be nowhere near as good without him, and I only hope that with his latest solo release 'Come Somewhere', we get to hear more of his songwriting and vocal talents within the King's X context. I'm beginning to like his vocals more than Ty's! Gaskill also has a sense of melody that is irresistable, and my wife, who is not a King's X fan, thinks Gaskill's album is a keeper. Gaskill keeps Tabor's melodic hooks, and Pinnick's heaviness, from sounding too different to be in the same band. I think he is that anchor that makes King's X sound like every song belongs there no matter who wrote it.
This album is one of my favourite King's X albums, simply for its diversity, and next to Ear Candy, is probably King's X's most diverse album. And I agree with some reviewers that 'Black Flag' was not the single to be released from this album. That distinction should have been given to either 'Prisoner' or 'Lost In Germany'. Or both. Both possess a catchiness that is needed to stick in the head, but is not ''light'' King's X for a 'lighter' pop market. It's not Diet King's X, I mean to say. Obviously Atlantic were looking for the next 'It's Love', and aimed for 'Black Flag'. It was elsewhere on this album."
A great album with some all time classics
David Koblentz | Edison, New Jersey | 06/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes overlooked by the astounding works that are Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989) and their most successfull album sales wise, Faith Hope Love (1991). The 1992 release was marred by the spliting of ways with producer Sam Taylor (of ZZ top video fame). Out of the gates we get the up tempo rocker "World Around Me" featuring somewhat simple bar chords from ty but backed by the lush harmonies the band has gained acclaim for. "Prisoner" is a classic and sports a blazing guitar solo near the end of the song where Ty just lets loose. All around the vocals are brilliant here. "Big Picture" is a slower song highlighting Doug's vocal range (and 12 string bass), not my personal favorite but a good song. "Lost in Germany"...an absolute King's X classic. A fun, finger breaking guitar riff just bounces off your ear, and again the vocals are pure magic. "Chariot Song" is a humorous little rocker throwing in references to other albums lyrically. A good song, not as good as the previous track however. "OOh Song"..wow, talk about being heavy without over-distorting. This is as thick and juicy as it gets folks. "Not Just For the Dead" is a quirky tune, pretty unique amongst their catalog, it features some middle eastern influence along with some sitar and other strangeness. Ty's guitar work on this tune is subtle yet superb in the manner he manipulates the almost keyboard like sounds eminating from his fretboard. This would be the "epic" track of this album ala the tune "Faith Hope Love" from the FHL album. "What I Know About Love" is another showcase for Doug's lead vocals. A good mid pace rock song, although not in the same league as other tracks offered here. "Black Flag" was a 'popular' song as it was the single and had a video but is rather weak compared to the other material here. It is very straight forward pop/rock (with the King's X stamp). Not my favorite but also hard to not sing along with. "Dream in my Life" is the typical Ty ballad you almost expect on all of their albums. It is a soft tune with ty's heavy beatles influence (which is a good thing of course). "Silent Wind" is a great album closer and reminds me of how they closed the Gretchen album with soft fading of odd sounds and guitar (the song 'The Burning Down'). Again the vocals are just amazingly lush. This album may not be the perfection that is 'Gretchen' but if you don't pick up this album you would definitely be missing some excellent songs, some of the best in their catalog in fact!
The cover art is also flat out beautiful. If you can find this on vinyl it is worth it for the art alone!! There is also one bonus track for this album as well. "Junior's Gone Wild" available on the Import (german) version of the CD as well as the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" soundtrack."