KXM review

There seems to be an overwhelming abundance of so called supergroups these days, each with major players and big names involved, only to fall short of the hype surrounding it. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all born out of one artist’s desire to work with another artist they respect, to create something new and do something completely different from the music they make with their regular bands. Add to that ever-growing list KXM, a band comprised of George Lynch (Lynch Mob, Dokken) on guitar, Doug Pinnick (King’s X) on bass/vocals and Ray Luzier (Korn) on drums. Thankfully, KXM doesn’t succumb to any of the pitfalls or short comings of the typical supergroup and have released a stunning debut that stands on its own merit and is based around a solid bunch of songs. Their eponymous debut for Rat Pack Records is a musical force to be reckoned with which transcends the boundaries of imagination. The album was produced by Chris Collier and KXM and takes its name from the initials of the various members other bands. Due to Pinnick’s voice, you can’t help but get a King’s X vibe and there are bound to be comparisons, but if you take the time to get past what lies on the surface and peel back the veil of rich layers of depth that dwell beneath, you’ll find an album drenched in melody that is driven by a unified vision to create something special and unique unto itself. The visceral riffs of opener “Stars” let you know right out of the gate that this won’t be quite like anything any of the respected artists involved have ever done before while the muscular groove of lead single “Rescue Me” falls somewhere between Lynch Mob and King’s X yet manages to maintain its own musical identity. Tracks like “Gunfight” and “Love” feature chunky bass lines and dark angular grooves akin to what Doug did in his days with Pounhound and “Never Stop” is a somber, bluesy ballad that showcases the band’s more venerable side that relies heavily on the 70’s nostalgia of Jimi Hendrix. “Faith Is A Room” has a heavy metallic funk similar to Luzier’s work with KoRn combined with eerie vocals on the verses and infectious radio ready choruses while “I’ll Be Ok” has a progressive guitar edge similar to Rush or Porcupine Tree. “Sleep” tackles the subject of domestic violence and has emotive lead vocals and lush harmony vocals that would have been at home on any of the King’s X albums. At the same time “Burn” and “Human Friction” have insidious guitar riffs, similar to the heavier side of Lynch Mob combined with old school funk flourishes and scorching solos that will set your speakers ablaze. There are even nods to Tom Morello and Rage Against The Machine in the unusual guitar effects and Fieldy-funkadellic bass lines of ‘Do It Now” in conjunction with the harmony laden King’s X flavored choruses as well as the fusion of jazz, funk and hard rock, along with guitar work that is very reminiscent of Joe Satriani and just as lethal on the instrumental bonus track “Tranquilize.” Here’s the bottom line- KXM has, at their very core, a solid foundation that has been built around musicians that bleed for their art who are among the finest on the planet and is bolstered by impeccable songwriting. Rating: 8.5/10 -Eric Hunker