Friday, September 7, 2018

KING COMPANY - Queen Of Hearts

Rating: RR
Label: Frontiers 2018
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

What the fudge? King Company - released as one of the 'New Breed', Frontiers' stable of young, exciting, up and coming bands who are the future of hard rock and metal? Oh c'mon. These Finns are merely young at heart... And obviously in comparison to all the 70 year old geezers (Asia, Rick Springfield, Whitesnake, etc.) that you usually find hanging around at the office of the Italian label, dropping various objects on the floor such as records, walking canes, pants, liniment, and hearing aid.

Formed in 2014 by veteran drummer Mirka Rantanen (Warmen, Thunderstone, Kotipelto, etc.) and guitarist Antti Wirman (Warmen, Children of Bodom), the sophomore release speak of "Queen Of Hearts" and reek of Teutonic melodies? Yes. They are indeed from the land of the Mumintrolls and found their new singer on YouTube. Italian-Argentinian Leonard F. Guillan at first merely the short term solution and replacement to Pasi Rantanen, the band eventually asked Leonard to join as a permanent singer as Pasi fought off vocal chord problems.

Nonetheless. The music sound as if it should definitely be wearing lederhosen and a funny hat (Austria, Germany, Switzerland). It's Axel Rudi Pell, Shakra, Silver, and Gotthard, all over the place and straight across the album. Technically speaking a vintage production and sound, it's been nicely mixed by Janne Wirman and mastered by Mika Jussila, stylistically a tad heavier and closer to Thunderstone than the debut. The storming title track goes through several different stages of rock where the intensity and Jens Johansson-ish keyboards stand out as the two main ingredients. It's ever so decent but below the standard of the top acts of the genre. Unfortunately, this is the case of the vast majority of the album. It's nice, neat, but also difficult to name any real highlights on the record. The ballad of "Stars" is probably my favorite track and that's never a good sign if you're looking for a rocking good time. Actually. The following track, "Living In A Hurricane", the really catchy uptempo rocker in the German tradition of melodic hardrock and the standard the entire album so badly needed. Final verdict: Hook missing. Line, sinker - gone fishing.

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