For those of you not familiar with American metal troupe King 810, let’s set the scene. Forming in 2007 and growing up in the much-maligned (and dangerous) city of Flint, Michigan, the band are infamous for modelling most of their lyrical content around their harsh upbringing, gun culture, and various illegal activities.
But, short of being full-out riotous in nature, King 810 – and specifically vocalist, David Gunn – adopt an almost poetic-like persona that give them an incredibly interesting edge while making them hard to pin to any definable sub-genre of alternative music.
While their 2014 debut record ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ was an intense onslaught on all things heavy, their 2016 follow-up ‘La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God’ set the band onto a more progressive path, ensuring an awful lot of resonance for the more thoughtful metal fan. ‘Suicide King’ shows the band continuing on that same path of intrigue with plenty to get your head around.
Opening track and lead single ‘Heartbeats’ sets things off perfectly, with a frenetically aggressive chorus with Gunn‘s lyrical pace intensifying, culminating in a real sense of urgency and vitality. Going back to their roots, ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Bang Guns’ retain their traditional, almost formulaic gentle approach to verse structure before segueing into choruses replete with percussive bombast.
Despite losing founding members Andrew Beal (guitar) and Andrew Workman (drums) within the space of the last year, it doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on King 810‘s output. The driving guitar riff coursing through ‘A Million Dollars’ is outstanding, and ‘What’s Gotten Into Me’ has slamming drum beats which clash against the self-deprecating vocal delivery from Gunn.
But, let’s get this straight right now; if the lyrical narrative of gun culture and violence doesn’t appeal to you and you haven’t been a fan of the band’s prior works, then this record is probably not going to change that opinion. ‘.45’ is a classic example of this (the clue is in the name), combining a part-hip-hop, part-rap vibe with those ‘street-wise’ lyrics peppering the track, while ‘Black Rifle’ contains a relatively catchy, swinging vocal style, but not a lot of substance elsewhere.
King 810 continue to mix things up right until the end of the album. ‘Wade In The Water’ showcases a gospel hymn-like manner, with chilled female vocals peppering the background, while final track ‘Sing Me To Sleep’ provides a gentle conclusion, incorporating blended harmonies with Gunn‘s vocals taking a back seat throughout.
This record is proof that King 810 are not afraid to further flex their collective muscle to provide something that is both aggressive and captivating in equal measures. Should they sort out their off-field issues and tour this material effectively through 2019, they should be able to gather enough momentum to cause a real stir.
After getting into alternative music during the mid 90s with the rise of nu-metal and pop-punk, I’ve gradually spread my interests far and wide and have a real love for metalcore, prog metal and tech metal. Amongst other things, I am a husband, father of two amazing kids, heavy metal DJ, and video game/book/nerd enthusiast!