Published on May 31st, 2019 | by Justin G.
Knights Reign: Knights Reign (Divebomb, 2019)
Keyboard-laden AOR was definitely out of fashion in America by 1994, but that didn’t stop Texas based Knights Reign from self-recording, self-producing and self-releasing this self-titled gem. The band included guitarist Tony Marsh and drummer Mike Reiner from local heroes Lix as well as Baltic Avenue vocalist Tim King, and they didn’t let the alternative rock revolution keep them from recording some very 1984-sounding melodic rock songs.
The Knights Reign debut brings to mind Honeymoon Suite, Giuffria and to some degree Tyketto. Their songwriting and production obviously weren’t at that level, but you can definitely hear the influence. Forget gloomy and introspective; Knights Reign was about catchy melodies, warm, steady vocals you could sing along with, and flashy guitars and keyboards. Some hard rock and metal elements sneak in here and there, but for the most part this is a radio-friendly melodic rock album. Highlights here are the very Honeymoon Suite sounding “No Time To Cry,” the almost prog rock ballad “Rain” and the bluesy, rocking “Get Tough.”
Needless to say, 1994 was hardly the time to get a melodic rock band off the ground in the US, so this was the only Knights Reign release. It’s an interesting album for sure; both familiar and unpredictble at the same time, and is one that fans of the late ’80s melodic rock sound ought to enjoy.
Reissue Notes: The original Knights Reign CD is way out of print, and was never widely available in the first place. Thanks to the Divebomb label, AOR collectors get a second chance to hear this overlooked album. Not only does the reissue feature new remastering by Jamie King, there are also five bonus demos from what would have been the second Knights Reign album. The extra tracks are more interesting than they are enjoyable, but that’s OK. The deluxe CD reissue also features a loaded booklet with vintage photos and a new interview with the band, as well as a brand new cover. All in all, it’s a very high quality reissue, which is no surprise.
Summary: Ultra-rare AOR gem finally gets an official reissue