King's X Manic Moonlight

Nine albums in and this enduring trio of God-fearing Texas boys reminds us that sometimes bands should take their time between albums. Having released a fairly decent record just 18 months ago, there was really no need for them to record the first ten new songs they came up with. Only about half of the tracks on Manic Moonlight really live up to the quality of music we've come to expect from King's X. All the requisite solid performances, chunky grooves, flashy guitar work and beautifully realised vocal harmonies are here, but they're too often obscured by muddy compositions and an apparent desire to get modern with the use of samples, record scratching and loop beats. Not that this is a bad record, even at their worst King's X still makes some of the most intelligent and melodic hard rock around, but when they've set the bar so high in the past, releases like this one come as something of a disappointment. (Metal Blade)