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King's X - Tales from the EmpireKing's X: Tales from the Empire
Molken Music

Official Bootleg Captures King's X in its Prime

King's X was a little late to the "official bootlegs" party, as it only began distributing live albums and demo compilations in the past few years. But, as its latest release, Tales from the Empire, proves, the band has plenty to offer from its vaults.

Recorded and originally broadcast on June 26, 1992, from the Empire Concert Club in Cleveland, by local radio station WMMS, 100.7 FM, the show has been circulated by bootleg collectors for years. This official release, however, was taken from King's X's "pre-radio-airwaves compression" master and is completely remastered with new artwork.

Despite vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick's rousing "Hello, Cleveland!" after opener "The World Around Me," there are no Spinal Tap moments here. Just a riveting 19-song set featuring an array of King's X's most popular tracks, including passionate renditions of "It's Love," "Over My Head," "Summerland" and "Goldilox."

Widely regarded by fans as one of King's X's most legendary shows, the gig also featured six tracks from the band's self-titled fourth record, with performances of "Lost in Germany," "The Big Picture," "Black Flag," "Prisoner" and "Not Just for the Dead" joining the aforementioned opening cut.

Guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor shines on the recording with extended solos, particularly on "Prisoner" and "Moanjam," as his shredding, yet graceful soloing style is on full display. Along with drummer/vocalist Jerry Gaskill, King's X's notable three-part vocal harmony is mixed beautifully throughout the show, giving the listener an accurate portrayal of the band live.

The one aspect of Tales from the Empire that could be better, however, is the packaging. There are virtually no liner notes included, which is unfortunate. Given the examples set by bands such as Dream Theater and Metallica that take the time to provide fans with interesting personal anecdotes and candid photos from shows, the lack of documentation in the set is glaring.

That said, for fans that can't get enough of Tales from the Empire, a DVD companion of the entire show is also in the works, scheduled for release in spring 2010.

In addition, Tales from the Empire is the second official bootleg release by King's X that spotlights its self-titled album. The Bigger Picture, a compilation of pre-production demos from the album King's X, was made available through the band's official bootleg label, Molken Music, in late 2009.

For more on King's X's official bootleg titles, visit Molken Music at Further information on King's X is available at the band's official Web site --

- Brian Heaton

Copyright 2010, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.