KING’S CALL – Showdown (2017)
“Showdown” is the new album by KING’S CALL after a four year absence. The German based melodic hard rock band founded by guitarist Alex Garoufalidis (Greek origins but born in Germany), who also handles the lead vocals for the first time.
However on some tracks there’s journeyman Michael Bormann (BONFIRE, SILENT FORCE, et al) helping with the vocal duties. Also veteran keyboard player Tony Carey (RAINBOW) adds his talent to the mix.
The album is produced by the famed Grammy-nominated Chris Tsangarides (GARY MOORE, MALMSTEEN) who also is involved in the creation, playing bass and keyboards as well.
Not unlike previous recordings, the songs within “Showdown” are essentially guitar-centered melodic hard rock tunes with an AORish feel at places, and a clear pristine sound. Guitarist and founder Alex Garoufalidis brings a bevy of sharp and brisk riffs and an abundance of slick solos. While these are the prominent elements, you cannot miss the pronounced bass lines hat fill each song.
Otherwise, the song arrangements revolve around an abundance of melody and harmony, especially from the guitar and vocal parts, and then steady rock groove from the rhythm section.
‘Who Am I’ isn’t a million miles from ’80s THIN LIZZY and that’s a good start in my book, ‘Looking in the Mirror’ has a catchy melodic line, and ‘High Time’ add organs to the mix bringing to mind some Tony Carey solo albums.
There’s bluesier numbers like ‘Get Out’ that have a bit more grit, then ‘Principle of Love’ is some kind of a midtempo ballad with a little BADLANDS in its skeleton.
Elsewhere single ‘S.O.S.’ injects a real melodic hard rock urgency, and sports a great catchy chorus, and ‘Shout It Out’ struts and stutters and ends up a nice MOR rocker.
Title track ‘Showdown’ gently grows into one of the best here with a calm opening that has a ‘classic rock’ atmosphere before the rocking riff kicks in. ‘Shout It Out’ delivers another fine melodic riff and somekind of AORish verses then a nice chorus.
‘Cry On the Wind’ is a different beast from the rest, a rocker with a more separated rhythm section and where Bormann appears and Tony Carey provide his magic for a song with some 1983 RAINBOW on it. A highlight.
Closer ‘Hope’ also really sets itself aside from the rest – a gentle acoustic ditty that barely lasts two and a half minutes, a fine way to end the album.
“Showdown” offers a bunch of very well crafted old-fashioned melodic hard rock songs delivered with a modern sound thanks to Tsangarides’ work behind the desk. Alex Garoufaldis knows how to write a solid tune in this style based around his guitar riffs and hot solos but always focused on the song and the main melodies.
Ultimately that’s what makes this album work: strong balanced arrangements and solid performances, wrapped by a very good production.
01. Who Am I
02. Looking in the Mirror
03. Get Out
04. High Time
05. Principle of Love
08. Shout It Out
09. Cry On the Wind
Alex Garoufalidis (vocals, guitar)
Chris Tsangarides (bass, keyboards)
Asec Bergemann (drums)
Michael Bormann (guest vocals)
Tony Carey (guest keyboards)
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