Friday, October 1, 2010

album review: The Showdown - Blood in the Gears

Band: The Showdown
Title: Blood in the Gears
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Review By: BMer

Track Listing:

  1. The Man Named Hell (4:17)
  2. Heavy Lies The Crown (3:23)
  3. Bring It Down (2:16)
  4. Take Me Home (5:24)
  5. Blood In The Gears (4:08)
  6. Dogma Enthroned (3:11)
  7. No Escape (3:59)
  8. The Crooked Path (3:36)
  9. Graveyard Of Empires (4:10)
  10. Diggin’ My Own Grave (5:42)

Blood in the Gears is the fourth album from Tennessee’s The Showdown, and their best work yet. So far the band has released four albums, the first two on Mono vs Stereo, then the last two on Solid State Records and all four have a distinct sound. The bands first record on Solid State , Backbreaker, was pretty good, almost a complete turnaround from their previous albumTemptation Come My Way, which featured more singing and almost no harsh vocals at all. Backbreaker was a much bigger and heavier sound, fitting in nicely with the rest of the roster on Solid State, but not making a huge impact.

Blood in the Gears is easily the bands most creative and dynamic work. AlthoughBackbreaker was heavy, not many of the songs were memorable and tended to drone on longer than they needed to be. Besides a few of the popular tracks, Backbreakerfailed to make a lasting impression. Blood in the Gears changes all of that. Each of the 10 tracks on this album have memorable parts, and the speed varies throughout the record from fast, thrash-style metal/punk to some slower rock/metal tracks to the closer which is an acoustic ballad that will make Bon Jovi fans proud.

There were a few member changes for this record, but original members David (vocals) and Josh (lead guitar) were still intact, and they added longtime friend/produce Jeremiah Scotts to play bass. The other half of the band came from Demon Hunter; Patrick Judge on guitar and Yogi Watts on drums. These changes played into the fresh creativity of this record, but i would credit the drummer, Yogi, with having the biggest impact. The drums throughout are solid, and Yogi’s already southern rock feel blends great with the direction that The Showdown have always been going. While there is plenty of fast-paced double-kick drums to make heavy metal fans happy, i think contrasting those fast songs against slower, rock songs like “Take Me Home” which has a late Metallica feel to it, helps the faster songs standout on their own. ”No Escape” is my personal favorite with it’s driving beat and 80’s guitar leads. The choruses throughout the album just seem so much better than previous albums, featuring crowd-friendly back-and-forth’s (“Blood in the Gears”) or slower breakdown choruses like “Bring it Down”.

Lyrically the album is themed around the consequences of empires in the history of man. Josh Childers states “…every empire falls, centralized power eats more resources than it provides so on a long enough timeline it always happens.” Songs like “The Crooked Path” and “Blood in the Gears” really touch on the problems with society’s need to consume and our failure to live outside of our culture’s expectations. While the lyrics are a little bit cliché and generic The Showdown are about having a good time. Some bands are so serious and almost militant that it’s great to see a band playing heavy metal and having a great time doing it.

OVERALL this is a really good album by The Showdown. Blood in the Gears showcases the creativity and energy the band is able to channel. Songs like “Heavy Lies the Crown” and “Bring it Down” will certainly be favorites of the fans, while “Diggin’ My Own Grave” and “Take Me Home” show us that The Showdown aren’t worried about being just another metalcore band, they’re southern roots really come out on this record. Blood in the Gears is a blast, The Showdown continue to give their fans a great time!

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