A few years ago I remember a friend telling me about a website called PureVolume, and how it was such a great site for finding new bands. So for the next few weeks I searched out the site for up and coming metal bands, jumping from random profile to random profile. To make a long story short, the site didn't really help at all. In fact, I only remember two of the several dozen bands whom I listened to. Yeah. Those two bands were Norma Jean, whom I just can't get into, and The Showdown. Now for those of you who care, The Showdown is a quintet hailing from Elizabethton, Tennessee. Formed in 2002, they've released two albums to date, and though their latest album is a fairly mediocre collection of southern rock songs, the band was once an interesting metalcore act with a hell of a lot of potential. Enter A Chorus of Obliteration.
Though A Chorus of Obliteration is not a particularly original offering, it did show listeners that The Showdown had all the tools to become a leader in the genre. The music heard throughout the 47 or so minute release is an excellent combination of energy, aggression, melody and brutality, all of which play an important role in the album's music. Heaviness and aggression are particularly stressed throughout tracks such as From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror and Dagon Undone (The Reckoning), and the band does a decent job at conveying the ferocity of some of their lyrical passages. But what makes A Chorus of Obliteration so much fun to listen to is not the energetic breakdowns which the band slides through or the brutal screams of frontman David Bunton. No, the real story behind the band is the infectious solos, harmonies, and leads pulled off by guitarists Josh Childers and Travis Bailey. The Iron Maiden-esque melodic guitar lines found throughout songs such as A Monument Encased in Ash, Iscariot, or Hell Can't Stop Us Now add an interesting new dimension to the music.
Of course, with this being The Showdown's first record there will be some obvious kinks for the group to work out. A major issue with A Chorus of Obliteration is that it lacks variety. Most of the songs, specifically the middle three songs, From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror (though this is one of the record's stronger outings), A Proclamation of Evil's Fate, and Dagon Undone, follow a very similar formula to one another, and at times the songs feel as though they are the same song repeated over and over. Another aspect which The Showdown could have worked on was the vocals. Though David Bunton's clean vocals are very well done, his harsh screams can get rather annoying. Especially in a song like From the Mouth of Gath where it is the only vocal style he employs for the song's full runtime, his efforts can get quite hard on the ears as the quality wavers from acceptable to cringe worthy.
Overall though, The Showdown's first offering was a decent debut album. Despite its obvious flaws, the band still managed to craft a handful of interesting, worthwhile songs. Tracks such as A Monument Encased in Ash and Hell Can't Stop Us Now do an excellent job at drawing in listeners and maintaining their interest, as they are chock full of fun song writing, aggressive riffing, and melodic leads. For fans of metalcore, or even just metal in general, A Chorus of Obliteration is definitely recommended as they piece together a vast majority of the elements important to a band of their ilk. It's too bad they ditched this style on Temptation Come My Way, as they definitely had a lot of potential with this sound.
A Monument Encased in Ash
Hell Can't Stop Us Now
From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror
Your Name is Victory