When King's X swaggered out of Houston two decades back, the band challenged both ears and preconceptions with rippling, progressive rock riffs and hints of then-hip "funk-metal" to go along with almost-gospel vocal harmonies, soulful sentiments and pop sensibilities borrowed from the British Invasion.
Even weirder, the band's guitarist and drummer looked like Rush-lovin' comic-book collectors, and the frontman looked like a wiry, triathlete-type bloke. With a Mohawk.
Oddly, King's X has always been marketed as a hard-rock act, which led to the band getting booed by blinkered AC/DC fans during a 1991 opening stint. Since departing the major-label mill in the mid-'90s, though, the band's become perhaps the ultimate veteran cult act. And there's still no one who sounds quite like 'em: Frontman Dug Pinnick's plaintive, rubbery inflections and monstrous (often 12-string) bass tones lend the trio an oddly lean-yet-orchestral quality. This year's XV revisited King's X's spirited (and spiritual) strengths—and, it should be noted, the Billboard Top 200.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.