I’d normally try to get one of our many staff reviewers on this, but when the opportunity to talk about King 810 came up, I figured who would be more qualified? After all, I’ve been defending this band since they dropped the Proem EP on Roadrunner Records, and although an uphill battle at times, is totally worth the fight.
King 810 returns with La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God, the band’s second full length album, and if you could believe it, shows some of the biggest growth I’ve seen in any band this year.
Right from the breathing found at the album’s opening, “Heavy Lies The Crown”, you’re invited into David Gunn’s world as he paints a portrait of hate, poverty, and violence in ways most of us can never imagine. I bring up the breathing, because the album is so dynamic that these subtleties count. At times you can practically feel the spit and anger leave his mouth on tracks like “Alpha & Omega”, or feel a sense of despair in his voice on tracks like “Life's Not Enough”, but the best way I could describe Gunn’s performance will forever be the same: pure conviction.
Musically the album sways between being brutally heavy to delicately soft, while remaining catchy, melodic and – most importantly – dark the entire time. This is what really separates King 810 from their peers. While this trend of happy / sad, good / bad continues to grow in many sub-genres within metal, they never lose their dark edge, even when the album comes down to a whisper. That shit is brutal in ways even Cannibal Corpse can’t contend with.
That said, I wouldn't want to paint a picture that this is a textbook "metal" album by any means. As a whole, you might even find more piano than guitars on the record, like on the track "Me & Maxine", a lounge-type song you'd expect from a Faith No More album, but somehow they make it work. Of course, that's probably more ammunition for the ignorant to talk shit, but if you can open your mind to any metal band being musically diverse, King 810 is worth your undivided attention.
Structurally, I’m in love with La Petite Mort. It’s built like a metal band writing a twisted opera with old school hip-hop style passages and call backs to earlier work. Tracks like “Black Swan” and "I Aint Going Back Again" shows a cinematic style that gives you the chills, which flows seamlessly into tracks like “The Trauma Model” that fill you with enough angst to punch the guy standing next to you. Ultimately, what you’re left with is an incredibly diverse piece of work that is brutally honest, musically grand, and worthy of calling it an album. Most bands will bullshit you and call a collection of tracks written in one sitting an album, but this is entirely different. La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God, is the sort of thing you'll want to step back and listen to entirely so you can fully realize the art contained in this one package. It might be 2016’s best example of what an album should be.