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Kings of Mercia – Kings of Mercia

Kings of Mercia
Kings of Mercia
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 06 October 2022, 6:12 AM

I suppose because this is a new band, Metal Blade doesn’t have them on their website yet. And since they sent the EPK without any information, I could only gather from their Facebook page two names. So, we will have to let the music do the talking here. The album is probably their debut album, and contains ten songs.

“Wrecking Ball” is the first. The riffs are smooth and easy, while the vocals are harmonized. It sounds a little closer to AOR than Prog, though that is neither here nor there. I can however pick up on a little FATES WARNING structure in the song which makes sense, given the members. “Humankind” is a mid-tempo song with too simple of a riff. The bass work is noteworthy, and the vocals fill the background well, but they had better do more with those riffs. “Sweet Revenge” has that darker and heavier riff I am talking about, but it’s another mid-tempo song. They have to vary the pacing on the album or it will all fall flat in the end.

“Set the World on Fire” features a faster-moving sound with raucous energy and nice bass work under the riffs. This song is a little more put together, that is until the chorus, when it fails to impress. “Too Far Gone” is the tender ballad on the album, and almost necessary song on an AOR album. The vocals are emotive and the smooth acoustic guitars provided a nice, mellow backdrop to this poignant offering. It might be the best song on the album. “Liberate Me” is another mid-tempo rocker with an elementary riff. Unfortunately, a good singer cannot save an album. The music has to be equally strong, and it isn’t.

“Nowhere Man” is a slow-moving song, again with a riff that is just too simple. I appreciate the sentiment here from two accomplished musicians, but what did they bring to the table that hasn’t been brought thousands of times before? At least the guitar solo cooks. “Everyday Angels” is another ballad, and another winner. The band is obviously better at these slower, more emotional songs, but that begs the question…who is interested in an album of ten ballads? “Is It Right” features a faster-moving riff but again, it isn’t something you haven’t heard before. “Your Life” closes the album. Another mid-tempo song, it barely gets off the ground. It’s a bad filler, and that’s about all I can really say about it.

Overall, there is just nothing special about this album. Although they have a great vocalist, the music is overly simple, and all the riffs have been done thousands of times before.  Both artists are accomplished musicians, but this phenomenon happens too often in the industry…take a musician out of his band and much of the magic that made the band great goes along with it. You can safely skip this album.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Wrecking Ball
2. Humankind
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Set the World on Fire
5. Too Far Gone
6. Liberate Me
7. Nowhere Man
8. Everyday Angels
9. Is It Right
10. Your Life
Jim Matheos
Steve Overland
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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