Cherry Red Records/HNE Recordings to release a 6CD King’s X box set in April

Cherry Red’s hard rock subsidiary label, HNE Recordings, is no stranger to plundering the Atlantic Records archives for material. Over the years, they’ve reissued much-loved albums by Ratt, White Lion, Back Street Crawler and more to bring affordable box set reissues to the masses. ‘In The New Age’ follows suit by pulling together most of the recordings that King’s X made for the legendary label and re-presents them in a basic clam shell box.

Although King’s X’s bigger fans will own most of the contents, this set is perfectly suited to the curious listener; that rock fan who has known about King’s X forever, but for some reason, hasn’t really followed the band. If you have half a memory of seeing the videos for ‘Over My Head’ and ‘It’s Love’ on Headbanger’s Ball in 1991, or perhaps remember Alan Freeman playing ‘Summerland’ on the BBC Radio One Rock Show in between old Genesis and ELP tunes around a similar time, this will be a complete education in one handy hit. Likewise, if you bought ‘Gretchen Goes To Nebraska’ but somehow didn’t worry about ‘King’s X’, or avoided ‘Dogman’ due to a few mixed opinions regarding a heavier sound, this will be the ultimate collection filler.

Regardless of any misgivings about a no-frills box and recycled material with no tempting rarities, hearing these six albums decades on, it’s hard to find fault with songs. The light psychedelia of tracks like ‘Six Broken Soldiers’ and ‘Summerland’ totally went against fashion at the time, and even much later, sound like no-one else. Just in the way that guitarist Ty Tabor could easily drop a hazy harmony against Doug (latterly dUg) Pinnick’s broad and bluesy wail creates a beautifully retro sound that couldn’t be anyone other than King’s X. When opting for the noisy power trio thing, the band even managed to convey their live power onto a recorded work with furious jams like ‘Ooh Song’ (a deep cut from ‘King’s X’) and ‘Moanjam’ (a fan favourite from ‘faithhopelove’). They could write catchy songs about religion (‘Send A Message’), depression (‘Black Flag’) and occasionally even political concerns (‘Complain’), without sounding pious or preachy. Most of the time, regardless of any spiritual or social messages, it was possible – and still is possible – to get completely lost in their intricate arrangements, drenched in three part harmonies (‘We Are Finding Who We Are’, ‘Picture’, ‘Lost In Germany’) – and it’s those that still make King’s X such an enduring listen.

Even when taking a heavier turn, as with the ‘Dogman’ album, the trio’s retro power held firm. In the face of grunge, that album showed a band who could stand their musical ground. That album explored bluesier tones (‘Flys and Blue Skys’, ‘Human Behaviour’) and gave Doug’s muscular bass sound an extra layer of distortion and a higher place in the mix. Even with some nonsense, free form lyrics in tow (‘Dogman’) and some doomier riffs (‘Black The Sky’) propping up the material, the trio’s love of a big musical hook and harmony stayed firm. Revisiting these albums in one package really brings home a sense of consistency, too. The harmonies and Beatle-esque melodies that prop up ‘faithhoplove’ are timeless – their presence also gives the underrated ‘Ear Candy’ its major strength on tunes like ‘Mississippi Moon’ and ‘Lies In The Sand’ – and the heavier tunes still rock.

You want a major groove factor? King’s X’s early years excelled there too. Just drop in on ‘Out of The Silent Planet’s ‘Sometimes’, ‘Ear Candy’s Looking For Love’, ‘Gretchen’s ‘Fall On Me’, or better yet, ‘Dogman’s ‘Pretend’. …And if further proof were needed that these three musicians could handle anything with ease, ‘Pleiades’ even pre-empts grunge with a brilliantly ominous riff that takes the retro sound and pushes it into the near future at the time of recording.

In terms of physical box sets, much like the Ratt reissue, this doesn’t offer much in the way of “poshness”, but in terms of a musical journey, pretty much everything is first rate. This early work from King’s X plays brilliantly throughout, and is a reminder – if one were needed – of how unique they sounded in the late 80s, and how, regardless of fashion, their distinctive sound set them apart from the crowd.

‘In The New Age: The Atlantic Recordings 1988-1995’ is released via Cherry Red Records/HNE Recordings on April 28th. A full track listing can be found below.


1 In The New Age
2 Goldilox
3 Power Of Love
4 Wonder
5 Sometimes
6 King
7 What Is This?
8 Far, Far Away
9 Shot Of Love
10 Visions

1 Out Of the Silent Planet
2 Over My Head
3 Summerland
4 Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something
5 The Difference (In the Garden of St. Anne’s-On-The- Hill)
6 I’ll Never Be the Same
7 Mission
8 Fall On Me
9 Pleiades
10 Don’t Believe It (It’s Easier Said Than Done)
11 Send A Message
12 The Burning Down
Bonus Track
13 Shot Of Love (Acoustic Version)

1 We Are Finding Who We Are
2 It’s Love
3 I’ll Never Get Tired of You
4 Fine Art of Friendship
5 Mr Wilson
6 Moanjam
7 Six Broken Soldiers
8 I Can’t Help It
9 Talk To You
10 Everywhere I Go
11 We Were Born to Be Loved
12 Faith Hope Love
13 Legal Kill
Bonus Track
14 Six Broken Soldiers (Extended Version)

1 The World Around Me
2 Prisoner
3 The Big Picture
4 Lost In Germany
5 Chariot Song
6 Ooh Song
7 Not Just for The Dead
8 What I Know About Love
9 Black Flag
10 Dream In My Life
11 Silent Wind
Bonus track
12 Dream In My Life (Edit)

1 Dogman
2 Shoes
3 Pretend
4 Flies And Blue Skies
5 Black The Sky
6 Fool You
7 Don’t Care
8 Sunshine Rain
9 Complain
10 Human Behavior
11 Cigarettes
12 Go To Hell
13 Pillow
14 Manic Depression
Bonus Tracks
15 Shoes (Live)
16 We Were Born to Be Loved (Live)

1 The Train
2 (Thinking And Wondering) What I’m Gonna Do
3 Sometime
4 A Box
5 Looking For Love
6 Mississippi Moon
7 67
8 Lies In the Sand (The Ballad Of…)
9 Run
10 Fathers
11 American Cheese (Jerry’s Piano)
12 Picture
13 Life Going By
Bonus Tracks
14 Freedom (B-Side)