February 3, 2015 King 810 – Memoirs of a Murderer (Album Review)
Flint, Michigan is known for its high crime rates. Since the mid-2000s, Flint has been ranked as one the most dangerous cities in the United States, with a per capita violent crime rate seven times higher than the national average. It has also been in a state of financial emergency since 2011. Out of this war zone comes King 810, a Metal band who is trying to bring the plight of their city to the forefront. The number 810 in the band’s name refers to the area code of Flint. Born in 2007, King 810 consists of David Gunn on vocals, Andrew Beal on guitar, Eugene Gil on bass, and Andrew Workman on drums.
The band has been supporting Slipknot and Korn on the Prepare for Hell Tour since the end of October, and are currently appearing with them for dates throughout Europe. King 810 has released two EPs, Midwest Monsters (2012) and Proem (2014), both containing songs that appear on Memoirs of A Murderer, released August 19, 2014 through their label, Road Runner Records. Memoirs is the first full-length release for the band. It is a gritty account of life in the 810. Produced by Justin Pilbrow, Josh Schroeder, and King 810, this record explores murder, poverty, loss and survival. Memoirs has the feel of an Independent Horror film, using sound effects, in you face vocals and heavy drama.
The record opens with Beal alone on guitar, soon to be joined by Gunn and the rest of the band for “Killem All,” a straight ahead call for rebellion, ending with Gunn proclaiming that these are his memoirs. Up next is “Best Nite Of My Life,” a fast paced, fist pounding chronicle of a typical night in Flint. This track features a buffet of beats and double kicks by Workman. Up next is “Murder Murder Murder,” a track about the mind of a killer and how he has been shaped by his circumstances. Gunn shudders as he delivers this account of this murderer and the hell that consumes him. “Taken” begins with a walk down a gravely road. It is a haunting, folk like, acoustic track, skillfully executed by Beal on guitar, as the breathy whispers of Gunn tell tale of his struggle to keep his soul intact. This divergent track leaves the hardcore for a softer statement, which is often more powerful. “Fat Around the Heart” is a cautionary tale to those who would enter this criminal world without the heart to survive. Delivered with an abundance of inhalations and another rock solid drumming performance from Workman, this powerful track is a stand out. “Treading and Trodden” is delivered with a complex vocal performance by Gunn, sounding maniacal, angry, and frightened all at once, followed by “Anatomy 2:1,” a stream of consciousness, spoken word piece, part warning and part instruction book of endurance. “Eyes” is a welcome departure from the violent imagery. Against the backdrop of waves crashing against a distant shore, “Eyes” uses piano and vocals to create a soothing, atmospheric song about surrender, and is another attention getter. “Desperate Lovers” is a love song that first appeared on the band’s 2014 EP, Proem. Next is “Boogeymen” and “Devil Don’t Cry,” a ballad complete with piano and a string section. “Anatomy 1:3” sees a continuation of the spoken piece that began earlier, with the style of beat poetry. It’s raining as arrive at “Carve My Name,” a song that asks the listener to “carve my name in your skin if you love me,” before finally building into an anthem, vowing to fight against the life they are forced to live. The song ends with the Gunn walking towards a gathering, as “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus is being delivered to a large crowd. This gives way to “War Outside” and then “Write About Us,” a plea to the outside world to pay attention to their misery. Finally, there is “State Of Nature,” a soliloquy on the state of the world through the eyes of Gunn.
Painting a picture of a world filled with despair, Memoirs of a Murderer is a record that has an atmospheric feel, with plenty of sound effects and theatrical, dramatic vocals by Gunn, with his breath on listeners cheek as he delivers his truth. The imagery is violent and disturbing. The tone is that of anger and desperation, and the delivery is raw and at times vulnerable, a powerful description of hopelessness in a world that does not seem to care. Cryptic Rock gives Memoirs of A Murderer 3 out of 5 stars.