Review Summary: Simply one of the best debut albums to hit rock music in years.
KYNG (don't know why Sputnik has it styled as kyng) is a band from Southern California. Their lineup consists Eddie Veliz on guitar/vocals, Tony Castaneda on bass/backing vocals, and Pepe Clarke on drums. They together toiled in relative obscurity for a few years until radio personality Jose Mangin (love him or hate him) began playing their music on Sirius XM and began hyping them to anyone who would listen. KYNG were then able to record their debut album Trampled Sun, and released it September 2011.
Before I go any further, I should tell you that KYNG's sound is something that they call California Heavy. They are a rock band, but they reside firmly on the metallic/stoner side of rock.
Trampled Sun begins with first single Falling Down. The riff from Veliz immediately grabs you by the throat as the song thunders along, until an unexpected and pleasant bridge that features Castaneda's bass as it leads into guitar solos. The song is a perfect album opener and a perfect single. Pushing & Pulling then picks up the pace and at times it approaches thrash metal territory. Clarke's drum perfect a perfect rhythm for Veliz's vocals.
Eddie's voice does bear similarities to young Chris Cornell as well as Josh Homme. Veliz is a good singer, there's no doubt there. Tony Castaneda is a very talented bassist whose nimble bass lines add to each song, and his backing vocals are usually spot-on. Clarke is the unsung hero of KYNG though. He is a very good drummer that gives each song a rhythm and groove that goes beyond the usual rock format. The band self produced Trampled Sun themselves and the results are great, as each instrument for the most part is heard clearly. When KYNG lock in together, they sound like a modern power trio.
The title track is one of the more grooving songs on the album, as the guitar riff is off-kilter until the pace peaks up for the chorus. Takes Its Toll is the first of several softer songs on Trampled Sun, as it has a very psychedelic feel that gives the song an almost Queens Of The Stone Age feeling. Veliz in particular gives Take Its Toll a QOTSA feeling as he mostly sings in his lower register and as a result sound strikingly similar to Homme. Down On Me also sounds like a lost Queens song while I Don't Believe is a thudding rock song that kicks up a notch in the choruses.
Porcelain & The Roses are two of the highlights on Trampled Sun, as both songs approach the six-minute mark. Porcelain sounds like the quieter side of Alice In Chains at certain points, while The Roses is a tender ballad. However, the last track is hands-down the best song on Trampled Sun, because it is actually three songs in one. The Beauty Of The End/Shorelines Part 1 & 2 is an virtual musical masterpiece, as The Beauty Of The End serves as a beautifully quiet musical intro, where the bass walks along as a beautiful guitar solos snakes around it.
2:20 in is when the song suddenly changes as Shorelines Part 1 shows itself as Metallica-esque thrash that races along at breakneck speed. Pepe Clark goes ape*** on drums throughout and Veliz lays down a brief guitar solo around the 4:00 mark. Suddenly, five & a half minutes in, Shorelines Part 1 ends and Part 2 begins. Part 2 is much quieter and slower than Part 1, as Veliz & Castaneda pull off an absolutely beautiful harmony vocal and the intro of The Beauty Of The End returns to the fray. Veliz takes the song out with a beautiful classic-rock inspired guitar solo. The Beauty Of The End/Shorelines Part 1 & 2 is simply one of the best albums closers I've heard in a while.
KYNG's Trampled Sun is an incredible debut album that shows just how much future potential these guys have. Hopefully in time, KYNG will be the Soundgarden for future generations. I simply have not heard a debut album like this in rock music in quite some time, and I hope that KYNG sticks around. The world is a better place with bands like KYNG making music.