Prog-rock is a tricky business. A genre scorned for pretentious, frilly indulgences -- like emo or light jazz, Colorado style -- the label alone is enough to doom a stellar band to death by preconception. In this prog world exists the valley of prog-metal, a subgenre strewn with laughable poseurs so full of themselves that they choked on their own bloated egos. Not surprisingly, few take the time to search for any real talent here, save the critics circling for carrion. Even in a pile of underrated bands like Dream Theater and Fates Warning, King's X is woefully overlooked. Doug Pinnick feeds thick bass grooves through a grinder, where Ty Tabor seasons them with swirling psychedelic or nasty hard-rock riffs. Jerry Gaskill then pounds the concoction into Texas-sized patties and serves them up raw. The unapologetic approach produces an unexpected positive feeling, belying the heaviness of the music with Beatle harmonies. Thankfully, the Kings eschew the fanciful affectations that attract Renaissance folk, abdicating that throne to Queensrche.
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