Review Summary: This is what happens when a metalcore band tries way too hard to be to many things at the same time...
The Showdown are a four piece Christian metalcore band from Tennessee. The sound of the band is a bit difficult to relate, not because they are unique or innovative, but because the band tries to force itself into almost every single nook and cranny of the metal genre. So what exactly do they play? Is it metalcore, thrash, melodic death metal, straight up rock, nu-metal? Well...yes...all of them...and while it seems like an interesting approach, just trust me, for the most part its not pretty. The music shifts from thrashy passages with southern rock grooves, to bland and uninspired metalcore passages, to rather poor attempts at melo-death, and a lot of places in between, and nearly all of it comes out sounding forced and mechanical.
While things like song titles and album art are extremely superficial, and in most cases irrelevant, I feel like mentioning it is almost necessary. I mean seriously, the album cover boasts a mostly naked (and unrealistically buff) man, who has been pierced with at least 20 arrows, and every single song name starts with a mythical character (such as Prometheus) and an abhorrently pretentious suffix (The Fires Of Deliverance). Under normal circumstances, things like song titles and album art don't really have a lasting effect on anything. However, when the music presented is this boring and unimpressive, it makes the painfully atrocious song titles and concepts even more ridiculous.
The album is never really awful, it just fails to impress on so many levels. The vocalist doesn't really appear to have a voice of his own, and for the most part it just feels like he's doing caricatures of more famous vocalists (for the most part he sticks to what seems like Alex Varkatzas of Atreyu doing a Phil Anselmo impersonation). The vocals aren't really terrible, they just feel completely forced. The vocals range from run of the mill metalcore screams and roars, to horridly gravelly singing and mediocre pseudo-death growls.
The other instruments really just throw out a constant stream of mediocrity throughout the album. The guitars provide overly repetitive riffs and a few lackluster solos (and breakdowns of course) but there are a few moments where they show a small glimpse of decency, like a few of the riffs in Hephestaus - The Hammer Of The Gods. The bass is never heard, but if you expected it to be, then you really aren't familiar with modern metal at all. The other half of the rhythm section is probably the most technically sound portion of the band. The drummer is by no means a "beast", or any other overused adjective used to describe drumming, but as far as metalcore drummers go he actually manages to be a few steps above average in spots. Sadly, its only in spots, and for the most part he sticks to the same basic patterns and beats found on most modern metal albums.
As I stated before, the album as a whole isn't inherently bad, it just feels completely unfocused and directionless. The instrumental aspects don't really do anything to make up for the mostly poor vocal performances, and the awfully pretentious song titles and album art don't really help out. However, there are a few tracks that can be enjoyable in small amounts, such as Hephaestus, Aries, and Nemesis, but even the enjoyable tracks leave more to be desired. If you are really just jonesing for some metalcore and you need it this instant, I guess this would hold you for a week or so. Otherwise, I would suggest you just ignore the fact that this album exists.