Where do I begin with La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God, the sophomore full-length by Flint, Michigan outfit King 810. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that you need to go out and listen to this record – which you can do below actually. Finding the words the describe the record has been a bit of a challenge because it’s almost inexplicably good for some reason. I can’t truly put my finger on why but La Petite Mort is one of those records that just makes an impression. It has such a resounding presence from start to finish and heavy in terms of the subject matter. The way I see it, there are two kinds of heavy: musically and lyrically. While there are some heavy tracks on the record, the heaviness really comes through in the lyrics and content that frontman David Gunn talks about throughout the effort.
La Petite Mort paints a vivid picture of what it is like to live in a place riddled with poverty (41.5% of Flint’s population live below the poverty line this article at MSNBC) and violence (the city is consistently labeled one of the most dangerous according to Business Insider). Gunn is spitting venom from the first breath on “Heavy Lies The Crown” to the last word on “A Conversation With God”. Many bands talk about social injustice and the struggles of life but not in the way that I’ve heard here. Regardless of how you feel about King 810, La Petite Mort is worth a listen because it is not only a good album, it is an important album. The social commentary shines a much needed light on the situation that so many people face in places like Flint. Places that many of us only hear about when there’s a major crisis – such as this year’s water crisis – and then forget about because the media moves on to something else; usually some distraction so we forget these terrible things exist within our nation.
The effort definitely has many memorable moments that strike a nerve a nerve and send chills. Gunn is direct and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is with lines such as “You know sex still sells and drugs still sell But the truth doesn’t sell never has never will” (“La Petite Mort”) and “And you know that they hate us You know they keep us locked in these cages They wanna keep us fighting over races You know this cause they show this if you look to the past So you should know that this time won’t last” (“A Conversation With God”). One of the most memorable lyrics for me is on “Alpha & Omega”, where he declares, “I can tell you about things you’ll die never having known And I can take you places you could never ever go.” Sure, these may seem rather cliché but there’s an extra layer of reality in their delivery on La Petite Mort that I just can’t put my finger on. It may also be somewhat repetitive but despite that each song does have its own identity and the lyrical content does not make any less of an impact.
Musically, it can be minimalist at times; the heavier songs are on the first half of the record. However, they also explore different styles. Gunn’s vocal approach has an unmistakable hip-hop vibe, while opening number “Heavy Lies The Crown” presents some deathcore style breakdowns and nü-metal guitar wankery. If you’re thinking in terms of metal, I’d say deathcore/down-tempo might be the best way to describe it. The heaviness comes from the lyrics and themes rather than the music. “Black Swan” features a really moving arrangement of strings, “Life’s Not Enough” is fantastic, lounge-style song with a sweet saxophone solo that is dissonant, yet fitting in the chaos found throughout. Then there’s the bluesy “Me & Maxine”, which features a great solo that was aptly described by a friend as, “sexy as hell”.
As previously mentioned, this album is definitely worthy of a listen or two if just to hear the story that the band have to tell. You can stream it in its entirety below. La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God is out now through Roadrunner Records and is available for purchase at King810.com and on iTunes.
If you read this and know of any other albums like this one, old or new, send them my way. I’d love to hear more music that’s as real as this.
La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God track listing:
1. “Heavy Lies The Crown”
2. “Alpha & Omega”
3. “Give My People Back”
5. “Black Swan”
6. “The Trauma Model”
7. “La Petite Mort”
8. “I Ain’t Going Back Again”
9. “War Time” (feat. Trick Trick)
10. “Life’s Not Enough”
11. “Me & Maxine”
12. “Wolves Run Together”
13. “A Conversation With God”