Christ alive, didn’t January just throw one release after another, it’s been hard to keep up. Just as one album is in the bag and I go back to my borderline alcoholic habits of rum with Jager chasers on my cornflakes, a Donkey Kong like figure rises from the ground and chucks another album at me with force and fury. There was Soilwork that provided a pretty good start to the new year, then there was Within Temptation, whose new album was as head-bangingly beautiful as always and (I nearly missed this one) King 810.
If there has been a band that have stuck to their guns (literally) it is this ferocious act from Flint, Michigan. A band that has provided more than enough shock, with their unsettling lyrics of the grim American realities, to their almost upsetting blast beats and riffs, you can’t help but get saturated in the pure anger and disgust their albums portray.
Their first album ‘Memoirs of a Murderer’ was an album I just could not get my head around. I had sort of written them off as puerile act who loved guns a little too much. Then a friend of mine begged me to give their second album, ‘Le Petit Mort’, a whirl, I was treated to that same aggression, but also with blues influences, sombre undertones and that was when I understood King 810’s music.
Go back to the early days of Slipknot or KoRn for example and you will find bands who were so angry at the worlds they were bought into, the only thing that wasn’t going to make their members turn to murder was their own signature brand of rock music. Music only outsiders could understand. In order to love King 810 I had to tap into my inner turmoil, my inner demons and trust me folks, that’s a lethal idea in itself!
After listening to their new album ‘Suicide King’ – their first independent album since parting ways with Roadrunner Records, it’s abundantly clear that raw emotion is still there; it only adds more fuel to the tire fire into why King 810 are still that band for the unique freaks and outsiders of the world. Those that have, sadly, experienced the darker slices of life and bare the scars to prove it.
The album starts with the tribal ‘Heartbeats’, just this song alone gave me goosebumps. David Gunn continues to play that fitting role a mad preacher, spitting out lyrics faster than a gazelle noticing that family of lions are being too friendly, you cannot help but physically shake in shock and awe. That same dark energy crosses into the first part of this album, ‘Braveheart’ and ‘A Million Dollars’ sticks rigidly to that sound that made King 810 an interesting band to look into in the first place and will certainly keep mosh pits going for years to come.
While ‘Suicide King’ keeps to it’s rock roots, it does deviate into some classic Hip-Hop sounding territory during the middle part of the album. Ideas that were flirted with in previous King 810 albums, but are fully explored in this album. ‘.45’ is a perfect example of this newer sound and it compliments the overall sound of the album very well, Gunn is constantly proving to the rock community he has more than one dimension in his vocal arsenal.
Another aspect to King 810’s music that was explored, was that distinct blues sound that was in their second album and that element is still there, now with added gospel! It’s tricky to really be my usual sarcastic self, when the subject matter is pretty fucking serious and deep. ‘Wade In The Water’ talks about the ongoing Flint water crisis and is performed and arranged so beautifully, you can’t help but feel for the poor people in Flint that are still living that damned nightmare, getting zero help and zero f***s from their government for something beyond the residents control.
The final track ‘Sing Me To Sleep’ lives up to being a haunting crescendo to ‘Suicide King’ – if anything the best way to look at this album is that it should be separated into three parts. Tracks one to four are the ‘f**k the world’ part, where King 810 have no f***s to give and want to remind us all why. Tracks five to seven are the part where we reflect on the anger and misery bought before us, then finally the rest of the album is where we mourn the lost and take our deep breathes for the upcoming battles, in mind, body and soul.
Whether that was meant to be King 810’s intention for ‘Suicide King’ only they can tell, but f**k me if it was, it’s a genius move on their part. A good album is meant to be a journey and the journey I was taken to with ‘Suicide King’ may have been uneasy to listen to, but sometimes, the truth hurts. King 810 have made it perfectly clear they’re going to stick around, they don’t need a big record label, nor do they need the following of a small Dutch village to keep them going. All they need is their minds, creativity and their truth.
Long live Suicide King! Long live King 810!