Riffing with Perseus: Kingbathmat Challenges the Gorgon

Overcoming The Monster Album CoverJust as we started progarchy last fall, I received a note from Chris of Stereohead Records in the U.K. asking me if we’d be interested in reviewing a cd by a band named, amazingly enough, Kingbathmat.  Well, of course, we would.  Who could resist checking out a band with such a name?  These guys MUST be interesting, I thought.  And, I was right.  “Truth Button” proved to be an excellent release.

Last week, while doing some work in Minnesota, I received another email from Chris. A new Kingbathmat is coming out on July 22–would I be interested in reviewing, and would I like it as a download or as a CD?  Well, of course, my rational side wants the CD.  I’m rather proud of my collection, and “Truth Button” has pride of place in it.  But, my greedier side wanted the immediate gratification.  So, I downloaded it.

Oh, boy–it’s good.  Really, really good.  “Truth Button” was excellent, but this is “Truth Button” with even more excellence and more confidence and more adventure.  Yes, it goes to 11.

Please don’t consider this a full review–that’s still coming.  But, I do want progarchy readers to know that if they preorder this CD, they will not be disappointed.  These guys can play.  I mean really, really play.  And, so very tight without being overly produced.

I generally hate labels, and I’m not sure what I’d label this–but the label that keeps popping into my fuzzy little head is this: “funkadelic prog.”  Of recent releases, it might most easily compare to the work of Astra.  But, Kingbathmat is far more subtle–without losing any of its energy–than Astra.  Whereas Astra drives, Kingbathmat lingers, toys, and plays with its music.

Listening to Astra is akin to driving from Kansas City to Denver as quickly as possible, windows down, hoping to get to the majesty of the mountains .  Listening to Kingbathmat is like exploring the wild, untamed, and unpopulated backroads and Great Plains of Kansas and eastern Colorado en route, knowing there are little known charms and forgotten mysteries worth discovering in that undulating land.

KingBathmat Publicity Photo 2In the tradition of music over the last fifty years, I most hear the influence of Rush (heavily), later Traffic, and Soundgarden.

The masterpiece of the album is the sixth and final track, “Kubrick Moon.”  Holy schnikees.  I have no idea how to describe this, except it’s confirmed me as a serious and unrelenting Kingbathmat devotee.  John, David, Rob, and Bernie–slay the gorgon with all the might that is in you!

To preorder (and I give it my highest recommendation), go here.