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Album Review: King 810 – Memoirs Of A Murderer

4 min read

From local band to national metal sensations, King 810 have a strong league of angsty fans who have been with them every step of the way. The hardcore metal band are known for their onstage antics, infamous for their violent content and their live shows often digress into riots. The group is set to release their first full length album this month, aptly titled Memoirs of a Murderer, and it’s jam-packed with 16 angry tracks that aren’t for the faint-hearted.

King 810 - Memoirs Of A MurdererBefore we brush off lead singer, David Gunn, as just another angry dude, we first ought to consider the context he was bought up in. The album’s opener Kill ‘Em All may seem as though Gunn has unresolved anger issues; judging from the disturbing and unsettling lyrical content, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was true. You have to give it to Gunn though – he comes out guns-a-blazing, screaming with gusto, his voice breaking at the appropriate times. Same goes for Best Nite Of My Life in which Gunn’s voice is full of raw anger, bordering on maniacal. It’s all slashing guitars and crashing drums, with the pulsating beat reminding you of a quickened heart during an adrenaline rush. By the time Murder Murder Murder plays, you realise that something bigger is going on here. They’re not lamenting about murder because they possess a strong urge to kill. They’re reflecting upon the violent culture of their hometown.

King 810 is a band that originates from Flint, Michigan. It’s a miserable place; in fact, dubbed as one of the most dangerous and terrifying cities in the USA. Gunn addresses the everyday violence that occurs on the streets of Flint – the whole album in fact, is dedicated to this theme. The album’s lead single, Fat Around the Heart, conveys as much – Gunn warns you to “stay down, stay away, stay safe” amidst a rumbling of drums and a fantastic guitar riff. The song smoothly transitions to Treading and Trodden, never missing a beat in between tracks. It’s rather creative, actually – even the drums are executed in quick succession, giving the impression of gunshots firing away. It seems as though the band’s aim here is to capture their experiences through a scary and distorted light; the short, spastic bursts of guitar and drums in the intro of War Outside throws everything off balance. Rather than acting afraid of this war however, Gunn’s tone is defiant and brave – unless intended, you never notice a wobble in his voice. Around 2 and a half minutes the track slows down, the bass serving as the only accompaniment as he laments on his broken childhood. It’s a terrifying album that never strays from its haunting, creepy atmosphere – whether Gunn be screaming or whispering, he is giving audiences an insight of his personal experiences, and it’s hair-raising stuff that’s made of nightmares.

In a welcome change, the band give the drums a break and slow things down with Eyes. It’s an album highlight for sure – in this track, Gunn showacses his vocal abilities. His voice may be rough and brooding, but he hits every note where his low register allows him. He proves that he’s a versatile artist – he’s able to adjust his voice to the lullaby softness of this piece. It’s a very serene yet haunting track, featuring acoustic guitars, keyboards and studio beats over a sound clip of crashing waves. Same goes for the album’s final track, State of Nature, where Gunn’s voice is dripping with pain and nostalgia for a simple childhood. The guitar, synth keyboard and soft backing vocals give a beautiful texture, the harmonies somehow complimenting his rough, beaten voice. The song is a brutally honest and a heartbreaking depiction of a world that’s cruel and blood-thirsty, perhaps even borderline dystopian.

Granted, Memoirs of a Murderer may not be everybody’s cup of tea. There’s only so much blood-curdling screaming that one can take, and yes, 16 tracks do seem a little excessive. But you can’t deny that it’s raw and angry power, all derived from first hand experience. Look out for the breaks in between songs where Gunn narrates his turmoil in a low whisper, heightening that horror-movie atmosphere and the memoir theme. King 810 have a knack for expressing their personal angst through music art form. It’s a strong and  emotional debut, and while it may not relate to everyone, at least they got something off their chest.