They say that all press is good press, so I guess when two members of Flint, Michigan’s King 810 were arrested this past June on assault charges ahead of their Download Festival appearance, could be considered just that – good press. Nevertheless this debut record, ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ has been something many have been waiting for quite sometime. Their hometown is dominated by various problems a high murder rate, plenty of poverty, a tiny police presence, and tons of violence. So it’s no surprise frontman David Gunn paints a bleak picture over the course of 16 tracks.
From the outset of ‘Kill ‘Em All’, Gunn takes us on a personal and disturbing journey through his past and chosen lifestyle, one that is seemingly dominated by gun crime and gang warfare. It makes ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ an uncomfortable listen. It’s a challenging record, especially at over an hour long.
From the pounding, chugging early tracks (‘Best Nite of My Life’ and ‘Murder Murder Murder’) to the three part ‘Anatomy’ spoken monologues, to the winding ‘Boogeymen’, there is somehow plenty to keep you listening but not for the right reasons. It’s a record filled with so much angst and melodrama, it’s nearly unbearable to listen to.
Lyrically Gunn is eager to emphasise his toughness. Lead single ‘Fat Around The Heart’ is dominated by the line “You’re fat around the heart. Are you scared, motherfucker? Are you scared of the dark?” Sure it’s memorable but it’s still awful. Gunn comes across as egocentric and you get the impression you’re supposed to forgive him for his violent actions. Yet at times he comes across as proud of his past.
The constant themes of regret, pain, suffering, and violence soon wears thin. Even its more softer moments like ‘Eyes’, ‘Take It’ and ‘State Of Nature’ are unable to rescue this mess of a record. It’s admirable that they’ve attempted to change things up by taking such a route, it simply doesn’t work.
So what redeeming good features does ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ have? Well very few. The occasional blast of bold, bombastic metal is one feature and rears its head everyone now and then above the tedious lyrical content. Yet Gunn’s dominating presence spoils the band’s potential to come across as an appreciative metal band. Oh and the aforementioned ‘Fat Around The Heart’ has plenty of repeated valuable (unfortunately).
In conclusion, are King 810 the next breakout metal band that some are hoping they are? Well I hope not. 16 songs of glorified violence isn’t something that the masses need to hear, and with a record as poor as ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’, it’s best King 810 are quickly forgotten about. Whilst some may consider them to have the full package, there’s no need to push the bands grim past down peoples throat. Sure it’s admirable that the band have wrote about what they know about and their hometown but ‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ is a longwinded record that lacks longevity. It’s lyrically unpleasant and musically challenging and produced from a band that this is not worth all the hype.
‘Memoirs Of A Murderer’ by King 810 is out now on Roadrunner Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)