Friday, September 13, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: KXM/CIRCLE OF DOLLS


KXM
CIRCLE OF DOLLS
(Rat Pak Records)

9.13.19


For decades, Rock supergroups have been embraced by music fans and derided by critics. In general, the whole idea of a supergroup has been misunderstood.  Sure, there are those that come together strictly because it makes financial sense for each of the band members… and their management team. However, there are still plenty of supergroups that do it for the right reasons – artistic expression. Just because musicians are in successful bands doesn’t mean that they are always able to funnel all their ideas and energy onto their main band’s records. Sometimes, they have to turn to solo or side projects in order to release creative steam. In the process, they call on their musician friends and, before they realize it, they are a supergroup. This phenomenon has been going on for decades – including legendary jams by The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell) and commercially successful bands like Asia and The Traveling Wilburys. You can add KXM – featuring Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, and George Lynch - to that list…

Bassist Dug Pinnick is a founding member of King’s X. Ever since their 1988 debut, the band’s audience has continued to grow and critics have offered up many adoring words about their mix of Metal, Funk, Rock, and Prog. Drummer Ray Luzier may be best known for performing with Korn for the last decade but he’s also performed and recorded with David Lee Roth, Army Of Anyone, Jonathan Davis & The SFA, Billy Sheehan, and many others. Finally, guitarist George Lynch began his career as guitarist and songwriter with L.A. Hard Rock band Dokken. Since leaving that band, he’s continued as a successful guitarist and songwriter with Lynch Mob and The George Lynch Group. The trio came together during a party at Luzier’s when he gave Pinnick and Lynch a tour of his recording studio. Ray’s suggestion of starting a project together has led to a total of three albums: KXM (2014), SCATTERBRAIN (2017), and the brand-new CIRCLE OF DOLLS.  


CIRCLE OF DOLLS is a powerful, riff-heavy Hard Rock fest that builds upon the first two albums without constantly recycling the same musical ideas. Like a true combination of the three members’ talents, the album travels down many different Rock paths. George Lynch’s guitar riffs are circular and powerful yet they don’t overpower the songs. Instead, they complement Dug Pinnock’s passion-fueled vocals and anchoring bass lines. Ray Luzier’s drumming and percussion work add depth and stability to this batch of songs. As for the music, this is heavy-hitting Rock with many layers. The pummeling “War Of Words” is offset by the mellow darkness that infests “Lightning” and the funky vibes of “Big As The Sun.”  There are plenty of Lynch riffs, Pinnick bellows, and Luzier’s backbeat to keep KXM fans happy as well as fans of all of the members’ different musical projects. This is thinking-man’s Hard Rock – thoughtful but still very, very dangerous.

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