Texan band Little King play the kind of progressive rock that I like. Guitar-based, rather than keyboard-led, with plenty of energy, pace, melody and rhythm; the songs are not over-long or over-complex. In effect the music is nearer to a conventional rock band's than to some of the leaders of the progressive rock genre, but it does contain significant influences from that field. As such, it should also appeal to many fans of conventional rock and metal - it has the power to make it across those genres.
Legacy of Fools is their second album, following up Virus Divine from 2005. On that first album the band did not feature a keyboard player, as they do on Legacy. I missed that album the first time around but will now be buying it on the strength of Legacy. The keyboards are used mainly to augment and adorn the sound rather than as a main lead instrument; it is Ryan Rosoff's guitar that really grabs you, so I am confident that Virus Divine will be every bit as good as this album.
Ryan is the clear leader of the band, being the song-writer and vocalist as well as yielding the axe. It's a task that he carries off with some style. I love his guitar playing: weaving seamlessly between fast rhythmic playing and lead lines, he produces a wonderful sound that the other guys in the band can latch on to and deliver a great rock sound.
The album is a loose concept. The theme is about "all that we have inherited and what we are willfully leaving behind". It's a concept that doesn't come over very strongly, partly because the lyrics don't come out crystal-clear in the mix. This is not a problem for the listener because Ryan brings plenty of musicality to his singing so that the actual words are of secondary importance and, in any case, concepts such as these can have a complication if you don't agree with the particular politics or sentiments.
The measure of the album, and the band, are demonstrated for me on "Internal Smut". The track is one of two instrumentals, although to be fair "Moving On" is more of an introduction to "Nineteen Strong", into which it segues seamlessly. Not all rock bands can really hit hard with instrumentals, but Little King manage it with "Internal Smut". It's every bit as good as the last rock instrumental to make such an impression on me, Rush's "The Main Monkey Business" from Snakes & Arrows. High praise indeed! Little King are not Rush - not yet at any rate - but in Legacy of Fools they have produced an album that fans of that band, and of others, will enjoy very much.
1) Prodigal Son (04:10)
2) Domino (04:59)
3) Collateral Damage (04:27)
4) Moving On (Instrumental) (01:15)
5) Nineteen Strong (04:01)
6) Internal Smut (04:08)
7) Legacy (06:05)
8) Mea Culpa (03:29)
9) 202 (06:07)