King 810 are a much maligned band. Marketed as modern metal’s ‘next big thing’ when their debut album Memoirs of a Murderer was released in 2014 (the first album to ever receive a score of zero on this site), what they really are is hard to describe, but it is certainly is not that.
Full of bluster and bravado and stories of the hard streets (?) of a gang riddled Flint, Michigan, the formula missed the mark on the first album, but was refined for their second release that took some time to get its hooks in.
Suicide King sees King 810 whittled down to just two members, vocalist and band mastermind David Gunn and Eugene Gill on the bass, but the formula hasn’t changed much.
From the outset, the pair are aware the weight this album carries as the all-important third record. Through gritted teeth, Gunn asks ‘How can we give them something serious but entertaining too?’ on opener ‘Heartbeats’ a track with some of the musical experimentation of second release La Petite Mort or A Conversation With God along with the over-the-top braggadocio of the debut. It courses and flails towards a breakdown that is made to sound like a heartbeat, before descending into a straight up 30 second hardcore track.
The intensity of the opening is pared right back for the introduction of ‘Braveheart’ before it comes out like a second rate early nu-metal track interspersed with David Gunn’s more interesting vocal spoken type inflections. Again the OTT now-typecast lyrics drag down and distract from the mountainous sized riffs that engulf the track. For all the interesting parts of the album’s opening two tracks, all positive momentum is lost as the gangster shtick really reaches fever pitch across the numbing ‘Bang Guns’ and ‘A Million Dollars,’ with such great lyrical output as ‘Mumma, I know you pray bitch, but some children can’t be saved bitch’. I am sure I lost IQ points hearing that, let alone retyping it.
‘Black Rifle’ sees the story telling that the band are attempting take on a more personal feel, that same feel that permeated so much of the previous album. Extra points for the soulful choir and guitar solo, easily the best song here and something that truly shows what King 810 could be capable of if they dropped the bravado act that smacks of a scared child.
Suicide King is rounded out with a couple of great tracks in ‘Wade in the Water’ and ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ that show even more of their lost potential. Opening big and dumb, although strong musically, and finishing completely differently isn’t a bad thing, but King 810 let themselves down for at least half an album do doing exactly what they’re derided for, lack of creativity and over the top tough guy lyricism that leads nowhere at all.
For those who still want to know what this band is actually capable of, the last four tracks are all you need. And that, dear reader, makes this a far better EP than album.
3. Bang Guns
4. A Million Dollars
6. What’s Gotten Into Me
7. Black Rifle
8. God is Watching
9. Wade in the Water
10. Sing Me to Sleep