January 21, 2013

Review: KingBathmat-Truth Button

KingBathmat are an independent progressive rock band, hailing from Hastings in England. Initially started by singer/songwriter John Bassett, the band have now independently released five albums to date Son of a Nun (2003), Crowning Glory (2004), Fantastic Freak Show Carnival (2005), which was my introduction to the band, Blue Sea, Black Heart (2008) and Gravity Field (2009). The 4 piece band comprises of John Bassett (bass, vocals), David Georgiou (keyboards), Lee Sulsh (guitar) and Bernie Smirnoff (drums).

Their sixth studio release is Truth Button and it sounds like another fantastic combination of rock, prog and psychedelic treats. This being the third release I have covered, I anticipated yet another rockin’ adventure of sorts. I was not disappointed. 

Based on what I have heard since 2005, Truth Button has more guitar heavy moments than any release yet thanks to Lee Sulsh. It is a very welcome sound for these ears. The band’s ability to mix the harder and softer aspects together in one song is what will win you over. The switching back and forth and sudden time changes are what define it as a progressive work of art. For instance, the opening track “Behind the Wall,” comes out rocking hard and was a good choice to set the overall energy and tone of the album. “Book of Faces” is a prime example of the switching up from heavy and dark segments over to more airy light parts that change the entire direction of the track. This is the most intriguing aspect of KingBathmat. “The End of Evolution” is more of what I have come to expect from this band, with my own familiarity of the music already locked in, it clicked in instantly. This is the KingBathmat sound that got me interested right from the start. The rocking melodic guitars, driving layered keyboards and a locomotive bottom end are what come together seamlessly to create their own special sound. The keys in particular add a lot of flavor to the tracks, with sounds varying from sounding like early Yes to equal parts menacing Phantom of the Opera organ flourishes. It’s all quite interesting and fits each section of every track like it is supposed to be there.

As the album played on I found it increasingly difficult to choose what was the defining moment or what the magnum opus of the collection was. Every track is quality and prog rock at its finest. John Bassett is still the driving force and “voice” of the band and it his vocalizations that put a unique stamp on the KingBathmat sound.
“Dives And Pauper” certainly has its moments as well, rock goes into hyper drive on this one, and they never take their foot off the gas. This band could be anything they want to be with all the talent at their disposal and the variety of sound they can offer up in one track is very impressive.

With 6 tracks (4 bonus tracks on the digital release that I did not have the pleasure to hear) of prog complexities coming at you there is a lot to ingest and appreciate if you happen to be a discerning listener that likes something different at every turn. I think you are bound to find what you desire with Truth Button, just push start. This is an excellent album with true talent showcased in every song. A can’t miss prog rock classic perhaps? In my estimation…yes.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Behind The Wall, Book of Faces, Dives And Pauper

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder MuzikReviews.com

January 21, 2013

1. Behind The Wall
2. Abintra
3. Book Of Faces
4. The End Of Evolution
5. Dives And Pauper
6. Coming To Terms With Mortality in the Face of Insurmountable Odds
7. Slipstream (Digital Release Bonus)
8. Lines and Dots (Digital Release Bonus)
9. Dives and Pauper (alternative version) (Digital Release Bonus)
10. The Ugly Truth (Digital Release Bonus)

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