"Outlier" (2013) reviews
Of all the characters to emerge in the ongoing soap opera that is the hard rock world in the last three decades, few are more enigmatic or harder to pigeonhole than Lenny Wolf. His Robert Plant infused voice first hit international radar screens with Stone Fury in the mid 80s; their brief two album tenure - 'Burns Like A Star' in '84 and 'Let Them Talk' some two years later - as different as chalk and cheese. But it I was the creative, oft fractious love affair that began with the eponymous Kingdom Come debut in '88 that really focused media attention. Lambasted as Led Zeppelin rip off merchants (ironic when you consider the mighty Zep themselves openly plagiarised what had gone before as and when it suited), to these ears Kingdom Come have never really been granted a fair crack of the whip. Admittedly, when they started to move away from what was considered a 'mainstream' sound with 'Bad Image' in '93 they were never the easiest of bands to digest; but in true pioneering spirit, isn't that rather the point?
Released some four years after the last Kingdom Come studio album 'Magnified', the latest such offering 'Outlier' marks yet another pronounced change in direction, albeit one that older fans may now find much more palatable. These days Kingdom Come is pretty much Lenny Wolf solo with additional musicians brought in only where necessary, so first of all credit to the man for crafting an album that actually sounds like a band release. Dark, moody, oft wistful and melancholic...'Outlier' is all these things and a hell of a lot more besides! The most upbeat, heaviest and certainly most melodically accessible release to bear the Kingdom Come name since 'Master Seven' or 'Twilight Cruiser' back in the mid 90s, Lenny it would seem has undergone something of a renaissance in writing terms. Proffering a real cross section of Kingdom Come sounds from all eras and delivering them in a dynamic, post-industrial, gothically tinged manner pulsating opener 'God Does Not Sing Our Song' sums up the revitalised approach perfectly...guitar heavy but never afraid to explore something new. And I'm happy to report, that attention grabbing approach continues apace through the likes of 'Running High Distortion', 'Don't Want You To Wait' and 'Let The Silence Talk'.
Took a few spins to really stick, but this is surprisingly good!
Dave Cockett from the magazine FIREWORK
"Outlier" is a very far cry from Kingdom Come's debut way back in 1988 - you know the one - where everyone cried blasphemy because of how close the band's sound and Lenny Wolf's voice was to Zeppelin. Well, while that didn't garner them any favours with fans in the long run, 'Outlier" should Alter a four year recording lapse, Wolf has returned with a well-constructed album that touches all of the bases: cruising music with "Running High Distortion", melancholy stabs at darkness with "God Does Not Sing Our Song", "Rough Ride Ralleye" with its overt industrial meanderings, and "Let The Silence Talk", "The Trap Is Alive", and 'Such A Shame" which are just great rockers. The likes of "Holy Curtain", "Skip The Cover And Feel", and "Don't Want You To Wait" don't really hit the spot though. Wolf is a genius - he plays all of the instruments, wrote all of the songs, and even mixed, produced and recorded "Outlier".
In all, there is a nod to Wolf's 80s simple-rocking past, but there are contemporary leanings herein as well.
TONY PIJAR from Powerplay magazine
NI ROCKS recommends "Outlier" by KINGDOM COME
As much as I love finding new bands to listen to, it’s always good to get new releases from some of the “classic” rock bands that have been around for decades. From Steamhammer/SPV comes the new release by Kingdom Come entitled “Outlier” that gets released in the UK on 29th April. This is first release by Kingdom Come since 2009, although reading the press release the recording is largely the work of frontman Lenny Wolf who recorded all the instruments other than the guitar solos and produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album.
Wolf’s vocals retain their distinguished, instantly recognisable quality throughout although the tracks vary significantly. “Outlier” is definitely not an album where all the tracks sound the same. I have to admit I’m not overly keen on the extensive use of synthesiser on “Rough Ride Rallye” but other than that there’s little to criticize. Favourite tracks would include “Running High Distortion”, “Let The Silence Talk”, “The Trap Is Alive” and “Skip The Cover And Feel.”
Review-Lenny Wolf is one of those singers that never really got his fair due. Whether it was his stint in Stone Fury or when Kingdom Come were the MTV darlings and critics were hailing them as a new era Led Zeppelin, while fans were on the fence while some bought into the hype and others ridiculed the band for being a rip off. Well while original members James Kottak and Rick Steier after the second record In Your Face was not met with the same open arms they bailed to greener grass leaving Lenny to keep going. I will be honest, while I was not a fan of In Your Face, I will say that is the last time I even listened to them. Until now, time has been kind to Lenny his voice still sounds amazing and the band today sounds better than it did in the 80’s. That was the biggest shock to me is that this record did not sound dated and that Lenny made it sound modern while still maintaining the Kingdom Come sound. Rough Ride Ralleye sounds like the song fans expected after Get it On. Where when you hear comeback records or a band that has stuck it out releasing new music, they seem to think they fit in their heydays still, this record fells like it is trying to show people that Kingdom Come is more than some one trick pony and that they have so much left in their career to do. This record makes me want to go back and see what I been missing since In Your Face. I will be honest I am blown away from what Lenny has done, and I think this even outshines the debut record in my eyes. Lenny shows bands like Jet, Wolfmother and etc. how it is done and he creates a record that I would never have expected from him or this band ever again. I am floored; I am a Kingdom Come fan once again. This is the biggest shock of the last decade to me in terms of what this cd delivers and really does to wipe the memory of what fans once ridiculed. Kingdom Come old school fans, you have to hear this cd.
9 out of 10
It’s been a long, long time since Kingdom Come were all over MTV, whilst at the same time being ridiculed as Led Zeppelin copyists. Me? I’m more likely to bung on a copy of “Kingdom Come” or “In Your Face” than I am anything by the lumpen Zep. Of course, they ceased to be a band after that, with singer and songwriter Lenny Wolf using the band name, despite doing almost everything himself.
And fair play, for never giving up, as this is about the 14th Kingdom Come album he’s put out over the last 25 years. With the exception of the solo guitar parts contributed by Eric Förster, all instruments were recorded by the Kingdom Come boss himself. In addition, Wolf produced, engineered, mixed and mastered his new album. So he’s got no-one to blame but himself. But he won’t have to, because by and large, this is a cracking album.
It’s not a million miles away from what he was doing during the platinum selling days, and for an old rocker like me, that’s quite literally music to my ears. However, there are some jarring, electronic sounds popping up hither and thither, whether keyboards and samples, which don’t quite ring true to me. And it’s a sound that is dated, and not in a good way. Luckily, they’re not to intrusive, and the classic rock still shines through.
He’s still in good voice, and even though there seems to be a strain of melancholia, fans of yore will find comfort in songs like ‘Let The Silence Talk’ and ‘Don`t Want You To Wait ‘. It’s his first studio album featuring completely new material since the 2009 release, “Magnified”, and people who have been waiting for this won’t be disappointed.
Posted by The Flashwounds Team on Mar 25, 2013
By Seth M
“Kingdom Come?” Yes, that’s what I said too when Outlier showed up in my stack of new music. I don’t know how many of you out there remember the 80s, but those of you who do will definitely recognize the band’s name from their break-out decade of decadence hit “Get It On.” I don’t think there was a single person who heard that song and didn’t instantly scream, “Led Zeppelin ripoff” or a kinder “Damn, that singer sounds a lot like Robert Plant,” but it was undeniable that Kingdom Come rocked that sound hard and had some major chops both on their albums and when they played live ~ I can still remember them opening up the Monsters of Rock tour and getting the crowd pretty damn amped.
So guess what, if you liked that sound then, you’re probably still going to like it now. The band doesn’t have the same line-up anymore, but it’s definitely led by that same powerful voice ~ and that voice belongs to Lenny Wolf, who has single-handedly kept Kingdom Come going for over 25 years.
And when I say, “…single handedly,” I mean it ~ with the exception of the solo guitar parts that were contributed by Eric Forster, all instruments were recorded by Wolf (left in photo). And if that weren’t enough, Outlier was recorded at his Two Square Noise Factory studio in Hamburg and he also produced, engineered, mixed and mastered it. This is a man who has remained devoted to his music, his sound, regardless of what other genres have come and gone from the spotlight over the years.
So, getting back to the album…as I have said before in other reviews, I will always be honest about what I think of the music I’m reviewing ~ and what I think about Kingdom Come’s Outlier is that if you dug the band’s sound back in the late 80s (or at any point over the past quarter decade and 14 albums), then you’re going to be really happy with their new material. Because Wolf has been so successful in keeping true to the Kingdom Come sound, though, if you didn’t like their music way back when, you aren’t going to like it now. That may seem like a strange thing to say in a review, but it’s the truth…which winds up being a compliment to Kingdom Come, but also an honest statement about who’s going to appreciate their music. Wolf’s voice is still commanding and magnetic, the tracks are well-written, and the entire album has a Zeppelin feel to it.
Stands-out for me were “Let The Silence Talk,” which had a good melodic blues feel, and “Running High Distortion,” which is one of the harder-hitting tracks from an instrumental standpoint. Check out the new release (on Steamhammer/SPV) on May 7th, 2013 in the US (and on April 26th and 29th in Germany and April, respectively).
by Katarzyna Zakolska at 25 March 2013, 9:05 AM
KINGDOME COME is a German / American band formed in 1987 by Lenny Wolf, German origin. The bran new “Outlier” is the band's new material since 2009, when their last album “Magnified”, was released. My first entanglement with this great band was when my friend recommended me their song “Should I”. As a Hard Rock magnet, it wasn't so hard for me to fall in love with this creation.
“Outlier” is the common ground for brilliance and experience when it comes to Hard Rock. “Don't Want You To Wait” is one of my favorites, tuning with broadened keyboards, very atmospheric, somewhat Folkish yet with Metal type riffing that had me going for RAMMSTEIN. The chorus is pretty catchy, fine singing with Wolf's strong voice. “God Does Not Sing Our Song”, the opening track, has such a profound atmosphere, created by the rhythm section and the awesome riffing. Wolf is at his best with diverse vocal pattern from being gentle to hoarse in blink of an eye, making the song to shape up as a melancholic / melodious oriented as if it was from afar. As always, a memorable chorus plus an exquisite guitar solo. Well played and energetic drumming with a wonderful vocal line lies within the depths of “Let The Silence Talk”, a tremendous listener. “The Trap is Alive” is not too far behind, with great bass line, additional liveliness in the drumming along with AC/DC type of riffs. Sure you can miss another favorable solo moment and catchy licks.
“Rough Ride Ralleye” is a song pampered with electronic attributes relaying a mysterious ambiance. Trance like rhythm and riffs remind me fundamentals of Industrial Metal, a little similar to OOMPH!. On the chorus, is a mere cry out but has that coldness of early U2. “Holy Curtain” is a bit melancholic, echoing in the vein of PINK FLOYD. “Such a Same” continues with the band's own feel, with faster drums and stronger riffs, not so harsh but typical for KINGDOME COME. Wolf's Bluesy and charismatic vocals had me thinking of WHITESNAKE. Experience sure makes the difference. On “Skip the Cover and Feel” there is almost a pure American vibe of Country meets Blues, yet the guitaring is heavier and the chorus is mega strong melodic lines.
I was a bit surprised how an 80s oriented band got in so close with modern elements, yet it is still KINGDOME COME with their own sound, totally awesome. Listening to this song list again and again is a must, new things will be discovered and absorbed. You couldn't be bored. Fans of KINGDOME COME with take a smooth ride through this one.
KNAC.COMBy Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, March 4, 2013 @ 7:37 AM
Fame and fortune have always played a minor role in KINGDOM COME mastermindLenny Wolf's longstanding career. In fact, his more than 30 years as an artist have been fuelled first and foremost by musical challenges and the desire to keep evolving. His credo has always been: authenticity before commercial considerations. "Naturally, nobody is happier than I am when my music is loved by as many fans as possible," he says, "but these kinds of aspects are irrelevant when it comes to creating a new album. The only thing that matters is testing myself as an artist and embarking on new paths." To avoid any misunderstandings: the new KINGDOM COME album Outlier presents flawless rock music with a welcome tendency towards melancholia and a gift for anthems. But: With Outlier Lenny is starting a new chapter of his diverse creative career, expertly positioning his charismatic voice between traditional rock structures and modern sound elements, which add a third dimension to this album.
"I simply felt the need to delve deep inside of me and run riot in the infinite expanse of the audio cosmos. The result is a friction of mercilessly mechanical, heartless sound collages, combined with my typical melancholy-melodious style," Wolf explains the album's artfully interwoven experimental approach to his sound, which never detracts from the familiar atmospheric basic mood of his songs. "A whole number of souls happen to dwell in my breast, which is why experimentation and the development of my musical existence simply belong together." Lenny purposely takes into account that this approach may also lead to friction and requires an open mind of its listeners: "It's of secondary importance to me whether this is clever in business terms. To me, it's all about creating optimum varieties of sound signals which go through the ear straight into the heart. Some call it a vocation. Hallelujah."
A vocation which is reflected in ten haunting, stirring and diverse songs. Some numbers are welcome reminders of KINGDOM COME's past, other songs document a future-oriented direction. "I could have written a track such as "Let The Silence Talk" back in 1988 during our In Your Face period, whereas listening to "Rough Ride Rallye" and "When Colors Break The Grey" for the first time may have you think: Oops, what's all this about," Lenny confesses, knowing fully well that it's precisely those opposite poles which make Outlier a very special album. Especially since "one song by itself cannot reflect the character of a whole album. To understand this record, you have to take time and become one with those compositions, some of which are extremely diverse."
Outlier is well worth the effort, especially in view of the album's deep lyrical content. As ever, Lenny's lyrics are personal snapshots straight from his soul, touching on autobiographical subjects on "Don't Want You To Wait" and documenting - for example on "God Does Not Sing Our Song" and "Skip The Cover And Feel" - an attitude which is as fierce as ever and deeply rooted in Lenny Wolf. He has also consciously chosen the album title in line with this: "The term Outliersuits me to a tee. It symbolises my whole personality, the musical media I work with, the story of my life."
Outlier was recorded at Wolf's own Hamburg studio, the Two Square Noise Factory. With the exception of the solo guitar parts contributed by Eric Forster, all instruments were recorded by theKINGDOM COME boss himself. In addition, Wolf produced, engineered, mixed and mastered his new album. "Eighteen-months of struggle and madness lie behind me, a period which saw me go through the usual alternating bath of euphoria and doubt. As an artist, you can never be quite sure just what you've cooked up, but I happen to be an idealist and simply have to keep embarking on new adventurous journeys. The path of predictability has never satisfied me."
Outlier is KINGDOM COME's first studio album featuring completely new material since the arrival of their 2009 release,Magnified. The album is bound to provoke discussion, in every respect, which is precisely the intention Lenny has with his compositions: "I never write to please anybody, I simply stretch my means of expression as a musician as far as possible. Always in the hope that others will like the result." That certainly is one thing that Lenny needn't worry about!