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Released: Aug 24, 2010
Genre: Hard Rock, Metalcore, Southern Rock
Label: Solid State Records
Number Of Tracks: 10 (11 including hidden track)
The Showdown sets aside its Southern-rock-driven sound once again to deliver a more aggressive style on Blood in the Gears.
Blood In The Gears
UG Team, on august 26, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Although still making a name for itself in the metal/rock world, The Showdown is a band that never seems to be afraid of jumping all over the map stylistically. From one of the album to the next, the Tennessee natives have been dabbling in everything from metalcore to a Southern-fried rock sound. For its fourth full-length record Blood in the Gears, The Showdown have opted for a more aggressive sound than ever before. The one characteristic that ties all of the band's material over the past six years, however, is the continuously impressive lead guitar work from Josh Childers.
An in-your-face attitude is apparent from the get-go, with the opener A Man Named Hell fading in with gritty riffage directly following the sound of a motorcycle and/or hot rod revving up. The Southern sound is all but gone, with pinch harmonics and a Pantera-like quality reigning supreme. Heavy Lies The Crown is even more aggressive, with drummer Isaac Harris delivering an onslaught of double bass pedal and David Buton growling with the best of them.
Fast, gain-driven, chugging power chords are a familiar theme on the album, but thankfully Childers has the know-how to add in interesting lead flourishes. The title track is a fairly straightforward metal track at its core, but it's the lead fills that give it identity. While Childers rarely disappoints on any track, his standout moments arrive in the Jake E. Lee-like intro of No Escape and the high-speed strumming action on the hidden track Untitled.
The two slower tracks Take Me Home and Diggin' My Own Grave have their moments, with the latter being the official closing number thus, ending in a big, grand finish. That being said, it's Take Me Home that will satiate the fans who long for the Temptation Come My Way sound. It could be considered Southern rock with a twist, given that plenty of pinch harmonics make appearances along with classic blues licks. // 8
Lyrics: The Showdown has made a name for itself within the Christian rock community, but Blood in the Gears certainly doesn't refer to that background. In fact, the title track alone seems to hint at a more brute-force side of the band with lines like, The gun and the tongue do the job just the same; And under the knife you will cry my name; Impale, the reaper prevails. The ballads (or mellower tracks, if you will) tend to be more personal and reflective, but on the whole Blood in the Gears tends to be a bit more militant both musically and lyrically. // 7
Overall Impression: For guitar enthusiasts, there is plenty to get excited about on The Showdown's latest record. The band always dedicates a good chunk of the arrangement to Childers' riff work, although a good deal of the latest material's main melodies revolve around chugging rhythms. It should be noted that the entire album was recorded at bassist Jeremiah Scott's home studio, and the resulting product is impressive audio-wise. The Showdown seem to be engrossed in the metalcore world (at least for the time being), and although it's a timely and appropriate move for the current metal scene, it's obvious they have the capability of branching out into something a bit more unique on future albums. // 8
Blood In The Gears
MisguidedAngel, on august 26, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 7
Overall Impression: "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. // 8
Blood In The Gears
millarso, on august 26, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: So far in The Showdown's career, they haven't released two albums that have the same sound. Some hate their near genre-shifting, and some love it, but I hope all their fans can find something that they love about their latest release, Blood In The Gears. Stylistically, it is really a combination of all their previous efforts which turns out to be one of their heaviest and exciting records to date. Dave Bunton's vocals have matured a lot over their career to become the crushing, gravely pipes that you hear on this record. Long-time guitarist Josh Childers and relative newcomer Patrick Judge (Demon Hunter) form an impressive guitar duo. Jeremiah Scott pulled bass duty as well as a good chunk of production. Lastly, Timothy "Yogi" Watts tracked the drums.
01. Man Named Hell: intro via motorcycle sounds, the steady chug of the motorcycle engine slowly gives way to a chugging southern guitar riff, intense verses, catchy, meaty chorus, dual guitar solo at 2:48.
02. Heavy Lies The Crown: heavy-hitting start, staccato verses, powerful chorus, breakdown/interlude at 2:10.
03. Bring It Down: cliched name but awesome track, heavy on the thrash and fast-paced to boot, awesome chorus, *bass solo* at :50, guitar solo at 1:47. Short but sweet.
04. Take Me Home: drum intro, slower tempo, nice lead work mixed in throughout, very Southern feel, catchy chorus, headbanging interlude at 3:30.
05. Blood In The Gears: straightforward groove metal, solo at :28, very gritty vocals, good riffing throughout the song, especially 3:14 onward.
06. Dogma Enthroned: cool pitch-shifting guitar tone at beginning, very heavy, chorus is a little hard to understand due to the effects, but they give it an epic chamber choir sound.
07. No Escape: another very southern sounding song, good riffing, good chorus, solo at 1:50 follwed by some awesome riffs and chants.
08. The Crooked Path: very chuggy song, good vocal delivery, first verse is my favorite lyric, solo at 1:15, awesome bluesy breakdown at 2:15 with a solo at 2:36.
09. Graveyard Of Empires: fast and heavy, sweet snare hits at beginning of verse, real heavy vocals, awesome chorus, solo at 3:04 followed by awesome breakdown/outro.
10. Digging My Own Grave: drastic change of pace, slow, bluesy, and acoustic driven to start off with a shift to the heavy at 1:49 with a solo and a blast from the guitars, another solo at 3:55, cool riffs throughout the overdriven sections.
There are actually several bonus tracks available with different versions of the CD, but I won't go into those too heavily because you might not get them with the specific version you bought.
This album has a raw and relentless sound that I just love. I love that southern sound that inhabits every nook and cranny of this band's sound. My only criticisms are that some of the solos are a little similar though that doesn't even detract that much from the music and too many of the songs start off with straight double kick from the bass drum. That aside, kudos to these boys for finding an awesome sound. // 9
Lyrics: The overall lyrical presentation has its ups and downs for me. The concept of the album is a criticism of empires and their rises and falls. Lyrics like those in The Crooked Path and Graveyard of Empires I just love because they challenge the normal sensibilities that people have. Songs like Take Me Home, Bring It Down, and even slightly in Diggin' My Own Grave end up sounding cliched lyrically in the choruses. That being said, nearly every chorus is just catchy or hook-laden that it isn't that hard for me to overlook these. Some people love those sorts of phrases anyways. I felt that when the lyrical material was of the heavy sort, the music followed suit.
As for singer's capabilities, David Bunton's vocal delivery is one of my favorites by far so its hard for me to find fault there. Where there was singing, it was well sung, and where there was screaming, it was well screamed. // 8
Overall Impression: If you haven't listened to these guys before, I would have to say that they sound like a more hardcore version of Pantera or Black Label Society. That's where they get most of their influence after all. I love just how crushingly heavy this entire album is. No matter the tempo, each song is just as energetic as the next. I don't really hate anything about it. Some impressive songs on the album, to me, are Heavy Lies The Crown, Bring It Down, and The Crooked Path, but every song has something awesome in it and each one is worth listening to. If it were stolen, I would buy it again in a heartbeat. They are the perfect mix for someone who loves that southern feel, banging their head, and moshing like crazy. Pick the album up and "Git bit" today. // 9