When KING 810 initially stormed into the limelight it was through a combination of brute force and uncomfortable truths. Hailing from Flint, Michigan the band have been raised by the horrifically violent issues that have turned the place into the most crime-ridden city in America. Memoirs Of A Murderer served as an excellent debut, offering a harrowing insight into frontman David Gunn’s thoughts all whilst being backed up by a neo-nu-metal sound. Now KING 810 are ready to unleash their second offering called La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God, and it’s certainly different.
Intensity is what KING 810 are able to do tremendously well and opener Heavy Lies The Crown is a prime example of why they’re so good at it. The seething, spoken word intro quickly descends into a pit that just stretches the tension to breaking point before punching you square in the teeth. It’s a completely different and far more calculated use of brutality than Memoirs… as Alpha & Omega bleeds from the crater and it becomes all the more apparent that KING 810 are not setting out to just remake what they’ve already done. The spoken word verses and slow, constantly building back track means this song develops into a monolithic monster by the final chorus. If you were looking for something brutish and heavy much like a lot of the material on their debut then these two openers should immediately deter you, as whilst they are heavy they are still wholly different beasts.
Give My People Back is the closest resemblance to the KING 810 we’ve become accustomed too but the following tracks Vendettas and Black Swan truly show the progression this band have made over the two years. Vendettas is a methodical and intelligent track that serves as a call to arms for all the forgotten citizens of Flint through tremendously clever lyric writing where as Black Swan features an orchestral chorus that is so different to anything we’ve heard from KING 810 before it is certainly jarring upon first listen. Once the tracks opens up by the final act the whole song works fantastically well.
The first title track of the album, La Petite Mort, stands as the longest song on the whole album, clocking in at over seven minutes long and as such suffers from a lot of the detriments that longer songs can be subdued to. The song is easy to tune out of, as it is essentially just a far better utilised spoken word segment for David Gunn. Rather than the solo readings of Anatomy 1:2 and 1:3, this features slowly building guitars and drums to aid David Gunn’s melancholy poetry, which remains as hard to digest as before. The lyrics throughout La Petite Mort, not just the song but the entire album, are as intense and terrifying as ever, all of which sit in an uncomfortable level of realism that blurs the lines between what is written for the sake of art and what’s been written for the sake of therapy.
I Ain’t Going Back Again serves as not only an ode to the blissful ignorance of youth lost but also as a bookmark for the album, because La Petite Mort… isn’t quite the same after this song. War Time x Trick Trick is the last genuinely heavy song on the album but also takes influences from hip/hop and utilises them effectively. After that, the album takes a severe detour. Life’s Not Enough is an electronic trudge through bleak alleys and ear-bleeding free form jazz that has questionable success before transitioning into Me & Maxine. Lounge music would be the furthest thing expected from KING 810 but this twisted love song is actually a highlight of the album as Gunn shows off a different side to his vocals, which instead of snarling aggression are soaked in brooding emotionality and work surprisingly well too. Wolves Run Together continues the trend of a slower and more reflective end phase of the album but unfortunately misses the mark. The melodies used in the choruses aren’t the best and the boring music that accompanies the song doesn’t really aid the situation.
By the time the final song and second title track A Conversation With God kicks in, the sense of returning after a genuine journey begins to sink in. After the desolate spoken words of Gunn see the album out in the same way it began, it becomes apparent that the title of this album is desperately important. La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God. The record feels like two halves, with one boasting the brutality and aggression, everything we know and remember from KING 810 before a far more reflective and experimental second half that is completely different to what came before it. KING 810 have written a great follow up to 2014’s Memoirs Of A Murderer, that’s the plain simplicity of it. Admittedly there are copied lyrical moments and the majority of the inspiration remains the same, but KING 810 are turning this into their own identity and the fact that they are willing to venture away from what they’ve already achieved is commendable. Despite a few hit and miss moments that are found in the far more exploratory second half, La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God is an adventurous and successful second chapter for a band that continues to surprise.
La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God is set for release on September 16th via Roadrunner Records. The album is available for pre-order at iTunes, Amazon and in physical bundles via KING 810’s official website.
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