King's X - Dogman
Melodic Heavy Rock
14 songs (59:28)
Release year: 1994
King's X, Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Archive review
In extended hindsight, King’s X really have had a b*tch of a time in releasing albums since Gretchen Goes To Nebraska. As far as I have noticed, fanboys from myself to some guy named Devin Townsend consider it the zenith of their heavy n’ harmonious career. To me, the closest this trio has gotten so far to that classic is 1994’s Dogman.

It’s in no way a result of this record being similar to Gretchen. Perhaps mirroring the alternative times, Dogman is a helluva lot darker and heavier than any King’s X album up until this point. The crunchy opening chords of the title track alone should make that damn clear. The brilliant production gives this direction all the more heft – crunchy really is the way to put it with the sounds. Doug Pinnick still bellows out as one of the most soulful singers in rock, backed by the signature harmony vocals from guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill.

The song material ranges from real heavy to almost gleefully light, even if the overall tempos are brought down to a mid-level. It’s not a bad thing at all, as it accentuates the groovy elements that the band has always excelled at. Just check out my favourite here, Black The Sky, and tell me that your fist isn’t pounding – a killer chorus on that tune to boot, not to mention the heavy-as-damnation riffs. Fool You somewhat indulges in the harmonies, being almost poppy until the chorus kicks in. Don’t Care has a short “jam session” in the end where Gaskill let’s loose some subtle yet impressive rhythm flurries. For more harmonizing goodness, reach in for Sunshine Rain, also displaying the slight proggish tendencies that the group has used sparingly yet effectively throughout the years. Complain is another favourite, with Tabor ripping up a killer solo. By far the fastest track here, Go To Hell, is good but a bit frustrating that it only lasts 51 seconds for the compelling aggression. King’s X going hardcore? I think this is as close as you’d get if you wanted to hear it. Pillow reminds me of Black-era Metallica for some reason – just with awesome harmonies, of course. The album comes to a close with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression. It’s a quite faithful interpretation that grooves very nicely with Pinnick nailing a killer Jimi-vibe on the mic. Still, I’m not feeling it adds anything special to the whole package so the record would’ve been just as good without it.

From the band’s catalogue, I’ve often seen and heard Dogman being named as the second best offering King’s X has made. I’d agree. The mix of crushing heaviness and lush melodies, both with the vocals shared by all three members and the instruments, is really seamless. Some might be disappointed by the lack of quick-paced material here and I can understand that. If I’d be looking for the rapid side of rock on a given day, I wouldn’t listen to Dogman. But for anyone wanting to find out about King’s X or hear some very melodic yet heavy rock, this is a splendid disc to go to.

Killing Songs :
Dogman, Shoes, Black The Sky, Fool You, Don't Care, Sunshine Rain, Complain, Human Behaviour & Pillow
Aleksie quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by King's X that we have reviewed:
King's X - Out of the Silent Planet reviewed by Boris and quoted 85 / 100
King's X - XV reviewed by Jeff and quoted 82 / 100
King's X - Ogre Tones reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 78 / 100
King's X - Live All Over The Place reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
King's X - Black Like Sunday reviewed by Jeff and quoted 78 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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