You've got to hate the politics of the music industry. The Showdown's sophomore release has been pretty much done for nearly a year now. Why such a long wait before its actual release? Your guess is as good as mine. But regardless, the wait is finally over, and metal-heads have had ample time to gear up for the release of Temptation Come My Way.
When we first met these Tennessee boys in 2004 on A Chorus of Obliteration, they were playing metal like nobody's business. Roars, screams, guttural growls… all intricately and carefully placed within the confines of the metal carnage they were presenting. It was a very technically tight record. The guitar licks and drum lines were spot-on (Even the double bass pedal was played, not only to perfection, but often as well). And the lyrics! The songs were literally Bible stories, and served as battle cries. It was the kind of record that just excited you to listen to. Overtly spiritual, destructive in tone, but as each song drew to a close, ultimately redemptive.
So where does The Showdown go next? Back in time, apparently. The metal of Temptation Come My Way resembles the power metal of the seventies and eighties. Basically, the kind of stuff you'd expect to hear during a NASCAR race. There isn't much screaming, at all, to speak of, only the kind of riffs that get your fist pumping. It's still obviously The Showdown, and a couple of tracks very much resemble their first album musically, but it just feels a little odd, as if everything has been toned down a few notches, and the band is holding back.
Obviously not the case, but that sure is how it seems. In fact, the album's stand out track is "Breath of the Swamp," a song that has been swimming around for years. They originally recorded it (The track on this album is a re-recording) long before this album was in the works. It still doesn't contain much screaming at all, but it just feels so much more aggressive and like The Mighty Showdown.
And I can understand that there's only so many Bible stories that can be made into epic-sounding songs, but I'd be lying if I said I don't miss them on Temptation Come My Way. Lyricist and guitarist Josh childers says of the band's lyrics, "If you really want to affect people, you have to be honest. All the flowery phrases and big words in the world won't make one bit of difference if it's not from the gut. The lyrics on this album recount the last several years, good times, bad times, all of it. It may not always read this way, but it's about overcoming, about going through the tunnel and coming out as determined as ever to see the thing through. Temptation and everything else came at us and we're still here, so bring it on." The songs touch on temptation, addictions, coming to the realization that there is more than the norm in life, and so on. It's honest, but somehow I just cannot shake the feeling that they're holding back.
In the end, it's a solid record, however I cannot help but be the slightest bit disappointed. Where's The Showdown I know and love? Naysayers will yell, "It's forward progress!" And they are probably right. As for me, I'll be sitting in the corner listening to A Chorus of Obliteration, remembering the good ole days.- Review date: 2/18/07, written by Josh Taylor
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