Southern sound of new album praises Jesus, ridicules televangelists
Yer gon’ git snake bit, son.
Everyone’s favorite boys from the south in The Showdown have returned with the follow-up to 2004’s “Chorus of Obliteration,” and their love-of-life clarion call is simple: “Git snake bit.”
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– Greg Schreier
Consider it done, fellas. The Showdown may be one of the first bands to truly bridge the gap between arena-rock and heavy metal since Metallica’s halcyon days of the “Black Album.”
The first spin of “Temptation Come My Way,” though, will knock the wind out of you. And not necessarily in a good way. “Chorus of Obliteration” was a headbanger’s dream, a shameless homage to thrashers like Metallica – think Iron Maiden on speed. Like, more than Anna Nicole Smith ever could have choked down.
Enter “Temptation Come My Way,” which kicks off with the groove-laden sludge you’d expect from Lynyrd Skynyrd or the modern-day Confederates in Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Um, beg pardon, but . where’s the thrash, dude?
Well, the thrash is gone. But new listeners won’t notice, and loyal fans simply won’t give a damn. The life-affirming lyrics are still there, and the clear references to the band’s Christian faith succeed in being inspiring without being Bible-thumping. And you can understand them – Dave Bunton managed to perfect the gravel-voiced southern wail. His crystal-clear and intensely passionate delivery make every track instantly ready for arenas full of fist-pumping rockers.
And the passion is quickly evident. “Fanatics and Whores” stands as a welcome indictment of televangelists – coming from five dudes who just say they love Jesus. “You with the Bible belt buckling the knees of the world. You with the tie and that smile and the greed in your eyes sellin’ Jesus on your TV show,” Bunton rasps over the crunch of riffs and thundering percussion.
The album displays impressive diversity, seamlessly shifting from up-tempo anthems just begging for some air-guitar love to muddy, down-tempo tunes that’ll git you talkin’ in a southern drawl faster than you can say collared greens.
Guitarists Josh Childers and Travis Bailey massage bluesy, siren-like cries from their twin-axe assault, and the two complement each other perfectly. The Southern rhythms permeate every riff, taking an approach few bands are willing to tackle in a time when throwback, British-style, pansy rock has flooded society’s collective eardrums. Some bands may hearken to their Southern predecessors, but few go balls-out like The Showdown.
Drummer AJ Barrette has slowed it down a tad since “Chorus of Obliteration,” but his technique is dead-on. Forget fast; he wants thundering. He wants you to feel the swampy, muggy, dog-days of summer just like in Tennessee. He wants you to sift through the muck of the bogs and marshes. It’s not just music; it’s an experience, like sipping sweet tea on the porch of an old plantation house. Mmmhmm.
Bunton describes the sound best, as he snarls on “Breath of the Swamp”: “Straight outta the Southlands–the breath of the swamp! GIT BIT!”
“Temptation Come My Way” is the second album from The Showdown and is out now on Mono Vs. Stereo records. To hear “Fanatics and Whores,” “Temptation Come My Way,” “Breath of the Swamp” and “Death Finds Us Breathing,” visit the band’s Myspace page.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Greg Schreier at Gregory.Schreier@colorado.edu.