KingBathmat – Truth Button (2012)
KingBathmat are the brainchild of John Bassett and hail from Hastings, UK. Truth Button is their sixth album to date, though I hadn’t had the pleasure of their company before today.
In line with the album’s title, there is a certain honesty to KingBathmat, no pretensions; they are just laying down their cards on the table and saying here it is, this is us, you can like us if you want.
Opening track, Behind the Wall begins with heavy guitars that, in retrospect, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear on this kind of prog rock album; but this is an integral part of KingBathmat’s sound, this combination of hard and soft which gives motion to the listening experience; each track feels like a journey. I am immediately reminded of Pink Floyd, both in style and lyrics: “I know there’s something there behind the wall” sings Bassett, almost placing KingBathmat as a prog rock band in an hostile environment, almost saying “there’s life in prog rock yet”! Otherwordly synth vocals and groovy basslines drive Book of Faces, an anti-ode to Facebook, and keyboard spirals flow around on the End of Evolution. Dives and Pauper is a standout track for me, the main melody sounding like Medieval street music brought kicking and screaming into the electric guitar age. Love it! The album finishes with the epic Coming to Terms With Mortality in the Face of Insurmountable Odds, alternating between floating Pink Floyd lullaby-esque melody and big metal guitars.
In the end, we’re not talking Dream Theater type prog metal here, despite the metal guitars, this is more reined in than that, more classic, and, I think, that makes it feel more welcoming. KingBathmat wear their influences prominently: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion, Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Yes, Porcupine Tree, ELO; in fact, one could go as far to say that they have a very British sound, hearkening back to the heyday of prog rock, but still sounding fresh, exciting and modern. This is the new British Prog Rock and it is a odyssey that you don’t want to miss.
Favourite tracks: Behind the Wall, Dives and Pauper, Book of Faces