EP review: King 810 – under the black rainbow

David Gunn and his cohorts in Flint rap-metallers King 810 find gold and other precious metal at the end of their new project…

EP review: King 810 – under the black rainbow
James Hickie

It's easy to forget for anyone old enough, and hard to believe for anyone younger, that there was a time people discussed King 810 as potentially being the next Slipknot. Their powder-keg debut album, 2014’s Memoirs Of A Murderer, explored the dark underbelly of their native Flint, Michigan. Its divisiveness only added to the interest. Unfortunately, the enterprise was somewhat undermined by their threatening aesthetic, a predilection for guns, and offstage misdemeanours that skewed the focus.

Soon enough, people became more interested in the headlines David Gunn and co. made than the music, which is a shame because some of it – 2016’s second album La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God, in particular – was more interesting than the shock tactics would have you believe. A decade on, then, it’s safe to say that expectations of a new King 810 release aren’t massively high. This might be a good thing; without the white-hot scrutiny, the focus can return to their creative output.

Admittedly, an EP acting as a soundtrack to an episodic film series only devoted followers will seek out isn’t the best way to ensnare a wider audience. This endeavour is worthy of praise, though, given that the members of King 810 did everything themselves, including funding the project, though it lives or dies on how good and interesting the results are. Thankfully, it’s a test they pass with rainbow colours.

We find magic in the most peculiar places’, David hisses on opener Hurry Hurry Ahura Mazda. The frontman certainly isn’t wrong. Gone are the naked tales of depravity and criminality, replaced instead by something much weirder, namely a story that begins with the band encountering an instrument belonging to an angelic priest.

A lofty concept could, of course, yield unwieldy and pretentious music, but instead we get some of King 810’s most infectious tunes in years. Sue’s Song is what you imagine Korn’s debut would have sounded like if it was released in 2024, while the industrial disco of Boogie With The Boogieman is sure to get even the most stubborn hips swivelling. Meanwhile, Glow takes things in a different direction entirely. Backed by reassuring piano, an acoustic strum and angelic choir, David sounds like he’s channeling his late namesake, Mr Bowie. It’s rather lovely, as is the yearning closing track Bigger Than The Stones.

Is ‘lovely’ a word you’d have attached to this band’s music before now? No, no it’s not. Which is to say that whatever your assumptions and preconceptions about King 810, it’s time to park them and get on board with what they’re doing now. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Ho99o9, Korn, Cane Hill

under the black rainbow is released on July 12

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