King's X

Tape Head

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    8
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On their seventh studio album (and first for the Metal Blade label), King's X get back on the right track with Tape Head. Their previous release, 1996's Ear Candy, did indeed contain several superb tracks ("The Train," "Looking for Love," etc.), but was not consistently as great as such past classics Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and Dogman. Maybe their reinstated songwriting focus is due to the fact that both bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick and guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor took time off to work on solo projects prior to the album's recording. Other reasons for the album's success could have been that it was written and produced entirely by the band (without the aid of outsiders), and the majority of the album's tracks were a collaboration by all three members. With the exception of one track, the album is one long highlight -- tracks such as "Cupid," "Ocean," "Little Bit of Soul," and "Hate You" are all examples of King's X at the height of their powers. The only weak track on the album is its closer, "Walter Bela Farkas (Live Peace in New York)," which contains irritating screaming over a live band improvisation. Still, it doesn't prevent Tape Head from being one of King's X's finest, and one of the best hard rock releases of 1998.

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