KING 810: THE SENSATION OF ORGASM AS LIKENED TO DEATH
King 810: 'La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God'
Release Date: 16th September 2016 (Roadrunner Records)
Luke 'Loki' Milne
"Those who have killed a man, can I get a show of hands?"
They've got the approval of Machine Head's Rob Flynn, but they've been banned from countless music venues. Two of their members have been arrested and charged with Assault With Intent To Do Great Bodily Harm - charges that were later upgraded to With Intent To Murder. Their fans have torn apart music venues, placed a security guard in a coma and rallied violently against local law enforcement during concerts. Oh, and the band's vocalist David Gunn was shot and stabbed during a robbery in 2012.
Welcome to Murdertown.
Conjuring up a media shitstorm since their inception in 2007, America's King 810 return to the frontline of the alternative music industry. Poised to unleash their second studio album under the banner of Roadrunner Records, King 810 present to us... 'La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God'.
Speaking as a rock and Metal journalist, King 810 are a fascinating phenomenon of modern music. The rich story and reputation that engulfs their career is a trivia-junkie's wet dream, and their music delivers an unforgiving and brutal assault, with lyrical content that focusses on surface themes of murder, gun crime and gang culture. Put simply, King 810 ain't pulling any punches.
This sort of violent content seldom breaches the high walls of the Metal genre, and is a far cry from the comfortably familiar fantasy romps we're used to. Make no mistake; there's no swords, damsels, demons or dragons here... only bullet wounds and blood.
It should come as no surprise that many are quick to scorn the band for seemingly promoting gang culture and glorifying gun crime and violence through their music. Their image and demeanour has some questioning their place in alternative music culture, while others have been trying their damnedest to shut down the hype and discredit King 810 as 'fake' - we'll come back to all this later, but let's look at the album first.
Throughout 'La Petite Mort...', vocalist David Gunn preaches passionately - painfully, even - from a blood-soaked bible, rife with tales of loss and suffering. Tearing through the opening half of the album with 'Alpha And Omega', 'Give My People Back' and 'Vendettas', Gunn's anger, anguish and arrogance drips with every throat-choked word, drawing visible cues from the vocal stylings of Corey Taylor himself.
Yet King 810's palette seems lathered with a much broader array of influence than just pure Metal. The first half of the album treads familiar ground, combining musical traits from Slipknot, Korn, Clawfinger and Bury Tomorrow, mixing gravelly vocals and down-tuned, distorted guitar work with industrial synth flavours and electronically affected percussion.
Here cometh the twist, however, as the second half of the album (listen out for the chilling acoustic intro of 'Black Swan') sees 'La Petite Mort...' undergo a transformation, drawing upon a slew of rap/hip-hop elements laced with jazz and blues flourishes. Emotionally speaking, the visceral anger and sheer brutality of the first half of the album becomes injected with a dark and haunting dose of sorrow and regret. King 810's latest is positively bustling with movement, both musically and emotionally. This shifting of styles may cause Metal elitists to turn up their noses but those who stay the course are in for a rare and wholly fulfilling treat – it's done with expert quality and feels like a completely natural progression for King 810 with no visible seams to speak of.
The message burnt into the music and lyrics of 'Le Petite Mort...' is shockingly relevant, screaming loud and clear with undeniable effect.
Controversial though it may be, this journalist would argue the toss; is this really the first time we've experienced a band bearing a strong theme of violence? Of course not.
Are we so quick to forget the movements of anarchy that drove the punk scene during the 70s and 80s, or the church burnings that laced themselves in the dark, anti-religious history of Black Metal? And let's not forget that the term 'Juggalo' has been kicking around since 1994, and stands as just one single example of gang mentality laced within professional music.
If you're a sceptic, you could argue that the violent content boasts with exaggeration simply in the name of effect. You could even question the validity of King 810's claims of enduring certain traumatic experiences. In response, I would simply invite you to conduct a little research into King 810's home town of Flint, Michigan – just as I did. Spoiler alert; it's not for the faint-hearted.
See, the fact remains that even if it does transpire over time that King 810 are dressing things up a bit in the name of showmanship, the issues touched upon in 'La Petite Mort...' are still very real. As you listen to the poetic lyricism displayed by the venom-spitting frontman (set coarsely atop that unsettling and agitated backdrop of hard-hitting chaos) you may come to understand - even for a moment - the message Gunn is trying to translate for us:
Something ugly exists out there in the world, and it's very fucking real.
The term 'brutal' is all-too-carelessly tossed around Metal music these days, but take it from me; King 80's latest release offers a lyrical and melodic explosion the likes of which you may never experience from another modern Metal act. Stretching far beyond the confines of conventional Metal music, 'La Petite Mort or A Conversation With God' is a must-have for the more adventurous and open-minded of music fans.
Oh. I almost forgot.
In case you're wondering... 'la petit mort' does indeed translate to 'the little death', but the translation in the context of King 810's new album title most likely refers to it's less literal translation. 'La petite mort' could refer to 'the brief loss or weakening of consciousness', or it could also refer to 'the sensation of orgasm as likened to death'.
Both seem to fit quite well.
1. Heavy Lies The Crown (2:19)
2. Alpha & Omega (3:39)
3. Give My People Back (4:39)
4. Vendettas (3:04)
5. Black Swan (4:12)
6. The Trauma Model (4:03)
7. La Petite Mort (7:59)
8. I Ain't Goin Back Again (5:17)
9. War Time (feat. Trick Trick) (4:09)
10. Life's Not Enough (6:28)
11. Me & Maxine (4:42)
12. Wolves Run Together (6:35)
13. A Conversation With God (4:33)