Saturday, December 4, 2021

King Gorm are well and truly on form

I’m not sure what the name is referencing (I would guess that the word, ‘Gorm’ meaning attentive or alert is the root as well as the root of ‘gormless’), but King Gorm, the Californian band provides a modern twist on the classic keyboard-driven rock of Purple, Heep and BOC but with enough prog to satisfy those fans too. The members have a distinguished lineage each having played with some truly original bands: Francis Roberts (Old Man Wizard, The Dread Crew of Oddwood, Leather Nun America), Dylan Marks (Beekeeper, Eukaryst, White Wizzard), Erich Beckmann (Grim Luck, Kirby’s Dream Band, Vic Viper).

On this, their self-titled album, we are treated to the story of “four heroes on their quest to save the land of Irondale”…and this tale is communicated across nine songs with a deftness that will engage lovers of all of those bands. ‘Freedom Calls’ is reminiscent of Rainbow but with Heepy vocals; ‘Four Heroes’ is Floydian with a spark of Rush…both are notable for very strong bass guitar lines, as well as finely crafted guitar and keyboard work. ‘Beyond Black Rainbow’ is like Steve Harris had joined Ritchie Blackmore to update and elongate The Kinks… I know, that may be a convoluted concept but give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean! ‘The Witch of Irondale’ is a seven-minute epic that entertains every second and, at times, reminds me of that vastly underrated Greek band Socrates Drank The Conium. ‘Slaughter The King’ brings a touch of Purple/Sabbath weight to the proceedings and the organ/guitar harmonies are wonderful. The closing song, ‘Ultimate Reality’ could have sat comfortably on Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble, as the key intro and riff are very Hensley/Box and that, is a good thing and this is an instrumental delight.

I have tried to help with the references to other bands, but don’t be misled as this band are very original in the way they take the influences, update them and stamp them with the King Gorm style and execution. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable album throughout…even the thirty-four second ‘Intro’ that opens the album with its sparse notes has power and meaning.

So, if you like heavy rock with those clear influences but appreciate an original update then you will love this…I know I do.

Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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