It’s been awhile since I have done a review, but when Joe Lawson sent me a copy of the latest ScreamKing release, I knew it was time to break out the pen and paper and dust off the old writer’s cap and give this one a whirl.
I was a strong supporter and enthusiast of the first disc from these Chicago area traditionalists, and after hearing a couple of pre-released tracks from the new disc I was highly anticipating hearing the full deal…and after a few spins, I realized very quickly I was listening to something quite special! Joe’s razor sharp vocals were on point once again, as would be expected. I know his vocals are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the same is said of other gifted vocalists such as King Diamond, and we all know what kind of career he has had. I am not saying that Lawson’s vocals are similar as King Diamond’s by any means, just that they are unique, and I am in the camp that really appreciates what he brings to the table.
What really sets this disc apart from the debut is that the songs seem to be much stronger overall. The music is a bit more advanced and more well-rounded without losing any of it’s raw energy and emotion. While the first disc had some standout favorites and a couple of tracks that were not quite up to the rest, I am being very hard pressed to find any track on this release that doesn’t have much replay value. The album rocks from end to end and there is nothing I would be willing to skip over. Joe has surrounded himself with a bevy of skilled musicians, with Rafael Hernandez and Jason Michalik bringing in the guitars and Clint Pagel (bass) and Scott Rothschild (drums) anchoring down the rhythm section for a very well-rounded sonic blitz that is ready to melt faces and blow speakers at the click of a button!
If my arm was twisted and I had to pinpoint a few tracks that would rise above the rest, I would probably go with I Am A Viking, Tyranny Of The Sea, War Horse and Halo Of Fear would be the big four, but the case may be made for tracks such as Bloodstains, Shadow Of The Horn, Faith Weapon, etc etc etc.
Do yourself a service (and the band as well) and give this sonic assault a shot, I know I will be giving it quite a few spins myself as I find the music to be a perfect soundtrack on a long highway drive!
\m/ 9.5 \m/