Sound — 7
Back Breaker. The name itself just screams 'macho' and the album cover, despite the vaguely homoerotic undertones, follows suit. I think taking a quick look at the front and back of this CD should tell you just about everything you need to know about The Showdown. They're a tough talking, tough riffing four-piece out of Tennessee serving up their 3rd album for anyone with a head to bang. Thick, sludgy battery is this band's fort and it comes in bucketfuls, with riff after riff in the same minor key. Of course, that could be construed as a bit of a problem, but anyone who's going to mind is not the sort to enjoy this music anyway. The band really nailed their sound, especially considering that they only have one guitarist, as the texture through this whole album is just god damn heavy. Details on this album are few and far between, as there is little variety and an almost constant unison between all four instruments. Drums, bass and guitars are united for 90% of the time for sonic effect, keeping the rhythm section very, very tight. The vocals are also very much rhythm-based as well, despite often bursting into saturated chorus harmonies. David Bunton sings commandingly at all times, implementing mostly midrange snarls and an equally midrange singing voice, however a lot of the time the sound of his vocals can be quite thin. This is more because the other three instruments combined absolutely knock them out in terms of power than it is because of any problems with Bunton's delivery.
Lyrics — 7
Whilst some mixing issues mar the vocal power that this album could easily have had, the lyrics are definitely consistent. Each songtitle has a prefix of a particularly mythological Greek God, and The Showdown manage to combine that theme with their own puissant tendencies. The end result is the sort of 'war cry' styled battle lyrics that have now become quite old. However, a lack of variety works for them musically and the lyrics compliment that, though there is a hint of atmospheric flair that reflects some intelligence behind the testosterone-fuelled bravado of it all.
Overall Impression — 7
Only the most hard-headed listener will be able to stomach this whole album in one sitting, but when looking for a simple, effective and utterly heavy set of songs, there are few reasons why you wouldn't go for this. Innovation isn't on the cards, and some mixing problems do plague the core songwriting, but 'Back Breaker' is a tightly cut slab of riffs, thunder and brawn. It's good fun and worth listening to simply for the crushing heaviness of some of the finer cuts, such as 'Infernus -- You Will Move' and 'Achilles -- The Backbreaker'.