Sound — 9
The Showdown returns to glory with their 4th offering "Blood in the Gears". A roaring, unrelenting onslaught that refuses to loosen its grip on your throat. A follow up to the hit or miss 2008 release "Backbreaker" brings a change in band members that has infused the quintet with a more polished fury (did you think such a thing existed?). Laying the ground for what is to come on the cd the track "Man Named Hell" leads with crushing attacks from guitarists Josh Childers and Patrick Judge and brings in singer David Bunton's signature pipes. Solid sing-able chorus capped off with a rough and raw solo to put the final shine onto this track shows the progression of the bands craftsmanship for their music. Other notable tracks feature on the cd include the slow building "Diggin' My Own Grave" that falls into the same vein as "Cerebus - The Hellhound's Rise" off Backbreaker. The Showdown have become a much more developed band and have really found their style that has been in flux for the bands last several releases.
Lyrics — 7
David Bunton's deep growls and piercing roars are an homage to the greats like Phil Anselmo. Crisp delivery with a force you can feel through your speakers truly add the signature to The Showdown's music. I'm fonder of Bunton's delivery of lyrics then the actual content however. However interesting choices of themes are littered throughout the cd offering up gems such as "Blood in the Gears" with lyrics like: "Come now sleep, And bring me a man who will dream of my name, Now come leech, And drain me the fuel to drive us all insane". Going back to an earlier mention I wouldn't mind hearing more of Bunton's clean vocals like those featured on "Diggin' My Own Grave", very signature sounding southern blue's influenced execution. One can easily get around lyric faults under the crushing power of Bunton's goliath vocals however.
Overall Impression — 8
"Blood in the Gears" screams, soars, shreds and roars with every bit of power the Tennessee quintet The Showdown can muster. The 11 song CD will strap you in and grind you into the dirt for its duration. In comparison to the bands other releases the crafting and musicality is on par with 2006's "Temptation Come My Way", an arguable favourite among fans. One thing has never been more apparent about The Showdown however, they have found a sound that suits them. It's been a long time coming, but "Blood in the Gears" will give fans and newcomers alike a little southern comfort.