If you are already a huge King's X fan like me, then you will have been looking forward to this new release with some trepidation. The last two releases were Black Like Sunday and the live album, the former being a collection of rehashed old demos. This made for an interesting listening but an album of brand new material would have been preferable.
I have now listened to Ogre Tone a good few times and I am pleased to say the band have returned with a crowd pleaser. This is certainly helped by using a producer outside the band in Michael Wagener who has produced some great rock albums in the past for various acts. The overall sound is undeniably King's X but with a contemporary twist.
The best songs seem to come in the first half of the album, the opening five tracks are all very strong. "Bebop" takes a few listens to get into and the elvis-inspired lyrics will surprise. "Honesty" is another of Ty's great solo ballads, very simply recorded on acoustic with great trademark vocal harmonies. If I have a criticism with the playing it would be the sparsity of Ty's solos which, given the current trends in rock,I expected to be plentiful. Somehow, however, he still manages to impress. The rest of the band are as consistently good as ever with Doug impressing with some powerful notes.
Overall, this gets 4 stars. Had the second half been as good as the first, I would have given it 5. Shame about "Sooner or Later" and "Open my eyes" - neither are particularly pleasant to listen to. Maybe they'll grow on me over time.
If you are a fan, do not hesitate in purchasing. Let's hope they come over and play in England again - these songs would be great live.
By the way, the album includes a "new" version of Goldilox from the band's very first album. It isn't much different - a few vocal embellishments and the guitar sound on the solo is a little more cutting. The songs remains one of their classics.