The Showdown is a five-piece metal band out of Nashville, Tennesse. The band has released four previous albums and had a bit of an identity crisis in deciding what sound they want to stick with. They started with a metalcore sound on their first album, dropped thatfor a southern rock soundon their second outing, and then on their third, Backbreaker, they mixed the two sounds. In a way that makes it hard for fans to really stick with the band since they have always been switching up their sound. But on this album the guys expand upon the sound they chose on Backbreaker and take off from where they left off, allowing for the fans to finally settle in on the sound right along with the band.
The sound on The Showdown’sfourth album, Blood In The Gears, is a straightforward hard rock sound, mixed in with some southern metal influences. Anything the band has ever done with a southern-type sound has worked pretty well for them, and I think they deliver the best they have to offerwith that sound on this album.
The band doesn’t really present anythinganyone hasn’t heard before from the metal world. The album is filled with typical metal chugging guitar riffs, blistering solos, blast beats, punishing double bass, a lot of speed, some thrash, some engaging grooves. All of these mixed together deliver a very brutal, in-your-face, metal symphony. Then they add in some southern influences andsome nice melodic guitar parts,allowingthe listenerto sail right along with it all. While I’ll admit it’s a formula we are used to, the guys from The Showdown are just trying to have a good time with it and deliver some heavy southern metal they enjoy playing, which in turn shows their great amount of passion and skill.
Vocally David Bunton can pass off as a solid metal vocalist. He can scream, shout, and have those grinding growls just aswell as anybody else in the genre. He also offers a large amount of clean vocals, which gives the band a bit of their melodic edge. This really helps give off the southern sound the band delivers into their music. I think this works great; his voice is able to pull off both styles, and it mixes nicely with the music.
Blood In The Gears explores the actions of empires seeking to expand their power, and the band then talks about the consequences of those actions by those empires. A lot of the songs touch on us following what our culture has deemed as right and how each of us sticks to that since it isexpected of us becauseour culture has said that is what we should do. Instead, we should be living outside of society’s goalsof consuming more and more and making it just about us. Otherwise, we will just drown in the cycle of these empires that are all bound to fall.
This album talks about not being satisfied with how society tells us to live. For example, the track A Man Named Hell” talks about stripping the power of hell by overcoming trials thrown at us and by living outside of the norm with this idea being carried out throughout the remaining tracks. While not the most upfront spiritual message it does raise awareness and serves asa call to arms of sorts to rise above everything fed to us from our culture and the evil that spurs that on. While the message isn’t exactly a lyrical masterpiece the guys do get their point across. While “lyrical fluff” clearly isn’t their normal style there is no problem with them just being straightforward with what they think and leaving it at that. In a way it’s a nice change having a band just cutting lose and sharing the music they love with their fans.
As a whole there is quite a bit to like about this album. I am a sucker for engaging guitar riffs and solos of which this album happens to be chock full. Lead vocalist David Bunton has one of the more distinct voices in the Christian metal arena by providing those deep gravely growls and the melodic southern sounding chorusesas contrast.As I said earlier it may not be the most unique sound but it’s a lot of fun and the guys do a solid job at it. This album is literally a blast andthe bandseems quite at home with the music they have compiled here. It would be nice to see a little more boldness about the guys’ faith in the lyrics but they at least givethelistenersomething to chew on. So if you’re looking for a deep spiritual message you probably want to check out another band. But if you want to cut loose and have a heavy fun-filled time then you don’t need to look any further than The Showdown’s Blood In The Gears.