Have a listen to "Black Swan"
King 810 – La Petite Mort Or A Conversation with God
Release Date: 16th September 2016
Just a few years ago, Michigan metallers, King 810 were tipped as the next big thing in the metal scene, pulling in comments about being similar to Slipknot in terms of sound and charisma. I for one wasn’t entirely convinced by their 2014 debut album, ‘Memoirs of a Murderer’. Such a comparison put a lot of pressure on my expectations for the band, in which they didn’t meet. It all felt a bit forced. Fast forward to 2016 and that comparison appears to have been met in their new album, ‘La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God’.
Out of nowhere, within the first couple of songs, I’m reminded of the time I first listened to the iconic Slipknot album, ‘Iowa’. This album is dark in nature, and there is a deeper angst leaking from vocalist David Gunn’s voice. Nearly every word on this release is unleashed through gritted teeth. The line “Bitch I am the powers that be” in ‘Alpha & Omega’ really comes through as a statement.
Lyrically and vocally everything feels intentionally more vicious, and with that, the music punches at you harder than before. But at the same time, what seeps into ‘La Petite Mort…’ is the theatrical and dramatic atmosphere, it flows in and out, counteracting the ferocity that floods the album.
‘Black Swan’ is the first standout track that showcases this desire to push some boundaries. Symphonic violins completely change the dynamic, those melodies along with Gunn’s whispering cleans leave a Danny Elfman-like tone on the song, like it’s from a Tim Burton movie. It’s a truly epic notion that pushes for a heavy ending with more of the frontman fearsome shouts and some crunchy riffs. It stands out as a real game changer for the Michigan men.
From that point on the eerie metal tone remains a focal point on the album. I have the cinematic approach implanted in my head, it’s as if you blended ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ with Slipknot. ‘Trauma Man’ has spoken word vocal melodies that could feature on musicals, while also mentioning the boogie man. But certain riffs remind me of 2001 era Slipknot, I’m thinking directly to ‘Skin Ticket‘ here.
It’s an ambitious road to go down and King 810 manage to pull it off well for the most part. But at times it feels overdone, especially when there are songs such as title track ‘La Petite Mort’ or ‘Life’s Not Enough’ which are around the six and seven-minute marks. The latter of the two breaks from the angry trend and pushes towards metal and jazz. It’s chilled yet still creepy, the use of keys, a saxophone and brushed drums beats out of nowhere completely change the dynamic of where you think this album is going.
It’s incredibly impressive, but at the same time, I feel that it’s too many styles to fit into one release. The back end of the album contrasts in a way that I don’t feel fits that well, even if it shows brilliant musicianship and songwriting. I’m hooked all the way up until ‘War Time’, which features rapper Trick Trick. Anything onwards really should have been B-side or bonus material, maybe an EP.
I came into this album with the expectations that King 810 were going to be heavy for the sake of being heavy, but I’m completely blown away by the direction the band has taken with ‘La Petite more…’. I loved the in your face aggressive start, but also how the album evolves to something a lot more. It shows ingenuity to push a heavy genre forward in a way that reminds me what August Burns Red are doing with metalcore.
For fans of: Slipknot, later – Chimaira, Tim Burton films, later – Parkway Drive, Korn