‘Kingdom Of Desire’ still seems (to me at least) to be one of Toto’s forgotten albums. I still rank it right up there with ‘Hydra’, ‘Isolation’ and ‘Toto Seven’.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Kingdom Of Desire
SERIAL: 471633 2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Steve Lukather – vocals, guitars * David Paich – keyboards, organ, vocals * Mike Porcaro – bass * Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion (R.I.P) * plus various guests..
TRACK LISTING: 01 Gypsy Train * 02 Don’t Chain My Heart * 03 Never Enough * 04 How Many Times * 05 2 Hearts * 06 Wings Of Time * 07 Shw Knows The Devil * 08 The Other Side * 09 Only You * 10 Kick Down The Walls * 11 Kingdom Of Desire * 12 Jake To The Bone
WEBLINKS: Site Link
In the many years before and after, 1992 would be a watershed year for Toto in the worst possible WAY. ‘Kingdom Of Desire’ was an edgy album and though containing two classic ballads, it couldn’t quite get pigeon-holed in the same smooth and melodic rock breath as ‘Toto IV’ or ‘Toto Seven’.
Two significant events occurred prior to KOD’s release. Firstly, the band wanted to clear the air that was the Jean Michel Byron experiment. As Steve Lukather once said in jest: ‘it was like watching George Michael out there on stage!’
Combining both George Michael and Michael Jackson, Byron was not one of the most inspired choices of lead singer by Toto’s then management. It took two years for the real Toto to purge the bad taste.
The other significant event was the passing of drummer Jeff Porcaro prior to the November 1992 release of KOD. Tragically, it seemed he suffered from an allergy related to insecticide spray, and died on the 5th August 1992.
The official Coroners Report suggested otherwise, which I won’t go into here. At the time, the news that filtered through (pre Internet) was astounding as it was utterly shocking. You just wouldn’t have believed it to be true.
Fittingly, the tribute within the CD cover jacket was brief as it was poignant. A benefit concert was held in December 1992 to help support Jeff’s family.
The fiery ‘Gypsy Train’ is one of the hardest opening stanzas the band have committed to tape. That surely put to rest the Byron failure. The funky but cruisy ‘Don’t Chain My Heart’ is next, and it’s been a popular live number over the years.
Lukather cuts to the chase on ‘Never Enough’, a song seasoned by David Paich’s organ work. But it’s Lukather solo-heavy renditions that tips this song over the edge. Keeping the heavy groove going is ‘How Many Times’, this one moves into neo-prog territory, surprising indeed.
The first of two ballads appears next. ‘2 Hearts’ is simply gorgeous, while ‘Only You’ is one of the most beautiful ballads that the band have ever presented. Divine stuff. The trademark shuffle beat the band are famous for appears on ‘Wings Of Time’, it’s understated mostly, but Lukather lets off some steam toward the end.
‘She Knows The Devil’ is hard-punching stuff, taking a leaf out of the book of INXS. Dropping out of hyperspace for a few minutes, ‘The Other Side’ is a lush near ambient affair in the mould of ‘Africa’. ‘Kick Down The Walls’ is a very edgy tune, big in the sense that some CCM projects were around the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The title track ‘Kingdom Of Desire’ has a very dark vibe to it. At 7 minutes, this is the band dipping its toes into deep cold water without feeling the after effects. The closer for me is the album highlight: ‘Jake To The Bone’ is an immense 7 minute instrumental workout that is so over the top. A great tribute to Jeff.
‘Kingdom Of Desire’ still seems (to me at least) to be one of Toto’s forgotten albums. I still rank it right up there with ‘Hydra’, ‘Isolation’ and ‘Toto Seven’. Sure, the band released a hatchery of CD’s during the 90’s and into the new century but somehow, ‘Tambu’, ‘Mindfields’ etc just never hit the sweet spot for me; though there are parts on each which are quite good.
No doubt with all the recent boxset reissues by all the classic rock acts from the glory daze, we will probably be graced by having a Toto boxset anytime soon.
Don’t Chain My Heart
Jake To The Bone (Live Montreux 1991)
Entire Album (Select Tracks)