Back in 2004, a band called The Showdown debuted onto the Christian metal scene with an album called A Chorus of Obliteration. Garnering a decent following, the band toured relentlessly and after many delays, released their second album in 2007, entitled Temptation Come My Way, which wasn't embraced by fans as much as the band seemed to have hoped. The Showdown had seemingly taken a step back toward 80s thrash metal, with a very southern, laid back feel all the way through. The screaming and growling that was evident on their debut had almost disappeared entirely. With the year 2008, The Showdown has returned as a four-piece to unveil the new chapter in their career, Back Breaker.
While many fans were not pleased with the southern, melodic metal feel that was seen on their sophomore effort, it seems Back Breaker will be the album to bring those fans back to the fold. Somewhat of a concept record, Back Breaker has both elements that made their previous two albums strong. The screaming and growling is back and quite prominent all the way through the new album, and the southern, melody driven sound that flooded Temptation… is back as well, creating a mesh of what some may call the best Christian metal heard in the past few years. The album includes 10 full tracks, including an almost three minute introduction, and clocks in at just under 45 minutes, which makes for a good length on each track. Each song has a Greek god or goddess associated with it, and each song has a feeling of "a call to arms" for Christians and people of all types, especially lyrically.
Highlights include "Hephaestus: The Hammer of the Gods," which serves as an in-your-face onslaught following the rough introduction; the title track, which has an interesting speed-metal sound all the way through and compliments the screaming, vicious vocals (and also incorporates much of the melody seen on their sophomore effort); "Prometheus: The Fires of Deliverance" which includes some of the best riffs and guitar work heard from the band; and "Odysseus: A Song of Hope," which features the lyrics, "Servants, strangers, heroes to ourselves / hearts beat in rhythm as we sail / and I will not die forgotten to this world / icons and vagabonds, the rulers of this earth." The lyrics give a strong sense of calling for Christians to stand up and not be ashamed of what they believe in, and each song gives a really strong sense of that mission being employed by the band themselves.
Two tracks on Back Breaker are considered ballads: "Cerberus: The Hellhound Awaits" and the ending track, "Medea: One Foot In Hell." Both songs incorporate the elements that made Temptation… a strong record, with long breakdowns and raspy vocals, perfect for metal ballads. Both are strong songs on the record, and really compliment the epic sound of The Showdown. While some tracks could be compared to now label-mates Demon Hunter, The Showdown has a certain Tennessee flavor that can't be shaken, and they use it to their advantage on this new recording. The band has successfully incorporated both sounds from both records in the right way, making for a pulse-pounding, eardrum-shattering listening experience.- Review date: 8/19/08, written by Justin Mabee
Record Label: Solid State Records
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