KXM – Circle Of Dolls +1 (2019)
Building upon the success of their 2014 self-titled debut album and 2017 sophomore release Scatterbrain, KXM returns with their third studio album, “Circle Of Dolls”, which is scheduled for release on September 13, 2019.
KXM is comprised of Dug Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Ray Luzier of Korn, on drums. “Circle Of Dolls” features 13 new tracks and was recorded at the Steakhouse Studio in North Hollywood California, where the band once again tapped Chris “The Wizard” Collier to engineer and co-produce the new effort.
KXM kicks ‘Circle Of Dolls’ into high gear with the bruising ‘War of Words’. Luzier and Lynch set this off with an alluring drum pattern teasing a guitar as it is yowling and pinging. The dampened sound effect with the intro gives you the feeling that you are outside the studio door as the instruments play. The door opens and the full rock treatment hits you in the face. It is high paced and fun.
You get a sense for the introspection and grit of this album on the song ‘Mind Swamp’. A foggy intro of guitars chimes, throbbing bass, snare pops and stick rolls lulls you. The urgency escalates into a culmination of snapping and snarling guitar to form the main riff. You can imagine the feeling of stomping through the twisting thoughts within your mind.
As the album progresses the flow is just sublime: ‘Lightning’ offers up a slow, infectious jangling groove and ‘Time Flies’ sweeps out of the traps before languidly dipping its toe into a pool of sound before it soars again; whilst ‘Big as the Sun’ sees Luzier tap out a rhythm that’s built up from that initial ‘clay’ by Dug and George,its song you can almost feel evolving as you listen.
Deeper in ‘Vessel of Destruction’ is again given depth by Luzier’s drum patterns while Lynch anchors it and Pinnick riffs and wails, it’s a great example of the free flowing nature of these songs.
‘A Day Without Me’ that follows has an initial acoustic swampy blues feel that’s pulled to the banks by Dug’s vocal and George’s big dirty riff before ‘Wide Awake’ stands as the soundtrack to waking from a dream.
One of my favorite songs is “Shadow Lover”. This off-kilter tune sounds like a spy novel. You can feel the rain in a dark alley. dUg’s hushed and reverb-laden vocals add to the air of mystery. The cascading drums provide that sense of restless searching. Once again, I’m amazed at how these three musicians paint these intriguing pictures in such a short period of time.
The album runs out with two fine tracks that even threaten to overshadow what has come before them, plus a bonus radio edit of ‘War of Words.’
‘Cold Sweats’ meanders and sweeps around a cool lyric with harmonies that are cut through with Lynch’s guitar. The last song is the hypnotic and topical ‘The Border’, a timely reminder that music this good has to be played and heard live.
“Circle Of Dolls” by KXM is a hard-rocking multifaceted gem of an album. The band continues to deliver a variety of delicious sonic tastes to tempt your palate. The overall approach remains heavy, yet there is a sense of brooding introspection.
This is a darker record thematically than their first two albums and builds upon the established KXM hard rock sound with thought provoking lyrics, catchy guitar riffs and rock-solid grooves.
Don’t be afraid of the dark. Instead, revel in it. This is your chance to get inside the minds of some of rock’s finest musicians and explore.
01. War Of Words
02. Mind Swamp
03. Circle Of Dolls
05. Time Flies
07. Big As The Sun
08. Vessel Of Destruction
09. A Day Without Me
10. Wide Awake
11. Shadow Lover
12. Cold Sweats
13. The Border
14. War Of Words (Radio Edit)
Doug Pinnick – Vocals / Bass (KING’S X)
George Lynch – Guitars (LYNCH MOB, T&N, DOKKEN)
Ray Luzier – Drums (KORN)