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King's Call - Showdown

King's Call
by Saxon Davids at 13 February 2018, 7:47 AM

"Showdown" is the third studio album from German melodic rockers KING'S CALL and having four years pass since the very well received second album, "Lion's Den", founder Alex Garoufalidis has brought in a fresh voice in Michael Bormann and a vast list of superb guest musicians to make this third album a big one. So let's dive in to this one with the traditional track by track review to give you a feel of this project!

The album starts off with a nice chilled out and melodic song, "Who Am I", wasting no time with build ups this track comes right in with a tasty uplifting riff with a nice groove from the rhythm section which slowly spans out into a melancholic chorus with a very pleasant Violin synth in the foreground. Having never heard of this band before, this was a great song to kick things off and set the tone for the record, it's not often a rock album starts with a light-hearted track like this one, it intrigued me, made me smile and want to hear what was next. "Looking In The Mirror" comes in with a relaxed guitar riff and a few tasty bass lick courtesy of Chris Tsangarides before picking up the pace into a mid-tempo stomper with a really nice groove to it, not a section of this song passed when I weren't uncontrollably bobbing my head or tapping my foot. This track has a certain attitude to it which differs from the tone of the previous song. I have to give praise to Michael Bormann for his performance so far on this album, he's gruff but gentle voice somewhat reminds me of Chris Rea which gives this album a really unique flare to it!

"Get Out" comes in with full force and is a classic American hard rock sounding song, with a swung rhythm and tight riffing this track is certain to get you moving. 3 songs in and I thought I had a fairly good feel for where this disc was headed but with "High Time" the band flips my expectations completely upside down with a heavy and funky guitar riff leading into an airy verse full of synth, this is one of the most dynamic songs on the album, the tone comes right down in the middle and creates a lot of atmosphere, giving Alex Garoufalidis a lot of room for a classy and tasteful guitar solo which starts slow and builds back up nicely into the final chorus.

"Principles Of Love" changes things up even more and brings the mood down into a chilled slow groove, reminding me of some of QUEENSRYCHE'S latest work. There's a big blues/jazz influence in the piano playing in this song which is great to hear, and with some soulful female backing vocals chucked in the choruses, this makes for a very angelic song and breaks up the first and second half of this album very pleasantly. "S.O.S" brings the pace back up again as each instrument is introduced one by one and evolves into an energetic and tense verse. This is  one of my favourite songs on the album, the chorus is extremely catchy and almost poppy but it's extremely infectious and fun to sing to, not to mention the excellent guitar solo, Alex continues to impress me on this album, tipping his hat to the likes of Eddie Van Halen it's clear he is a true master of his craft.

Title track "Showdown" is next up and despite opening with a moody and emotive clean guitar piece, it quickly ascends into one of the most nicest sounding riffs on the album, really getting the listener in a mood for an anthemic rock song, this track is a perfect example of showing what the band is all about; tension-building verses, big choruses and stellar guitar work from Mr Garoufalidis once again! "Shout It Out" is your straight up old-school heavy metal track, giving off strong ACCEPT vibes with the tight rhythm section and choppy guitar riffs, it has shaped the album into a very impressive work of art.

"Cry On The Wind" is by far my favourite song on the album and took me completely by surprise… With intense double kick, fast riffing, and a Hammond Organ that would do the late great Jon Lord proud, this track is a true homage to titan acts such as DEEP PURPLE, TYGERS OF PAN TANG and DIO. The chorus is incredibly infectious and every musician is on top form here. Michael Bormann's voice blew me away with this song, hitting outrageous notes with mammoth strength, and as I'm smiling from ear to ear and didn't think it could get much better, a huge neo-classic guitar solo comes out of nowhere that would put Yngwie Malmsteen to shame, and trading off with the keyboards this builds excitement for the final high energy chorus, truly outstanding!

The album closes off with "Hope", bringing the mood right down again with an acoustic guitar, this almost has a country-rock feel to it and I feel is a very nice end to the album… The energy had been building from the light heartedness of "Who Am I" to the high-octane "Cry On The Wind" and I feel ending on a calm, reserved song like this really gives the listener a chance to reflect on the whole experience. "Showdown" is a wonderful album full of great surprises and definitely an album I will find myself coming back to, I urge each and every one of you hard rock fans out there to pick this one up!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Who Am I
2. Looking In The Mirror
3. Get Out
4. High Time
5. Principles Of Love
6. S.O.S
7. Showdown
8. Shout It Out
9. Cry On The Wind
10. Hope
Alex Garoufalidis - Guitars, Vocals
Chris Tsangarides - Bass, Keys
Asec Bergemann - Drums

Special Guests:
Michael Bormann - Lead & Backing Vocals
Tony Carey - Keyboards

Guest Musicians:
Miriam Busse, Vivi Thill, Stephan Kabisch - Additional Vocals
Stephan Kabisch - Hammond Organ
Record Label: Lions Pride Records


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