George Lynch, dUg Pinnick and Ray Luzier formed, on paper, the unlikeliest of alliances, coming from such diverse styles of heavy music—LYNCH MOB, KING’S X and KORN respectively. Yet coming together as KXM, multiplicity became magic, and the group’s 2014 self-titled debut struck 31 on the Billboard 200. More than merely proving this amalgamation to be no fluke, the super trio’s new album, “Scatterbrain”, has advanced three times beyond its predecessor. Placing a larger emphasis upon prog and percussion, “Scatterbrain” is a wet-dream sophomore response to a damned fine debut. If you haven’t said: “Wow,” at least five times by album’s end, you weren’t listening.
The whirligig prog effects that twist themselves throughout the windy title track immediately signal how much KXM has evolved. Could George Lynch or dUg Pinnick ever have imagined having technically savvy players to bounce off 30 years ago? Much less a contemporary drummer able to switch hats from agro pounding rhythms to meticulous rolls, triplicates and decorative hi-hat taps, accenting their greatly busy schemes? “Scatterbrain”—and the slinky, percussion-clapped “Calypso”—is one of the most complex songs any man in this trio has ever set himself to, and it’s total ear candy that grows more delectable by the bar.
By contrast, “Breakout” (and later in the album, “True Deceivers”) is far more straightforward, with dUg Pinnick asserting fluid bass lines and escalating vocals. George Lynch strums and squawks along the verses en route toward the song’s towering choruses. Inherently, “Breakout” becomes a lost KING’S X track with ensemble harmonizing sweetly replicating the effect while erecting the guitars and beats toward a massive, polyrhythmic finish. Lynch and Pinnick‘s strums on “Big Sky Country” are hypnotic enough, but the scraping reverb and funky spelunking Lynch drops into the core melody is dizzying stuff. As with “Breakout”, extracurricular percussion and gang crooning spices up the lurking track along with a muscular shred solo from George Lynch. dUg Pinnick‘s screeching in the finale of “Big Sky Country” will get you, guaranteed.
The pounding choruses on the ska and flamenco-mingled “Not a Single Word” are as sublime as its verses are shimmering. It’s hard to judge what’s more impressive about “Obsession” thereafter, its monstrous chords and slamming rhythm, dUg Pinnick‘s up and down yelping or George Lynch‘s trance-inducing guitar play. Pinnick‘s bass lobs at midpoint further toughen an already hefty number: Sheesh!
“Noises In The Sky” lets off the intensity a smidge, if not the blues and funk globs, but KXM worms this one into a colossal, BEATLES-worthy finish. “Panic Attack”‘s tempo may not be as frantic as its title suggests, but the slower jitters KXM fuels into the song are severe. Ray Luzier crushes full-on anxiety into “Panic Attack” as George Lynch rips and wails an appropriately tense solo.
Given KXM‘s pedigree, it shouldn’t be this much of a surprise, but “Scatterbrain” far exceeds expectation. This album should rank as one of the proudest moments for all three men, and whatever stories behind its recording should’ve been documented in a special edition package. This is vivacious and determined music by professionals who set out to prove KXM is no novelty. God in heaven, feel these brothers knocking from Mother Earth, won’t you? Noises in the sky, indeed.