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KINGS OF MERCIA Kings of Mercia

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Thursday, September 15, 2022 @ 7:02 AM


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KINGS OF MERCIA
Kings of Mercia

Metal Blade Records
www.kingsofmercia.com




KINGS OF MERCIA is the latest brainchild of FATES WARNING guitarist Jim Matheos. The same man that also brought you such revered projects as ARCH/MATHEOS, TUESDAY THE SKY, and OSI (to name a few). Joining Matheos in his latest venture is FATES WARNING bandmate Joey Vera, Ex-TOTO and renowned session drummer Simon Phillips, and vocalist Steve Overland of the UK arena rockers FM.

Don’t expect something similar to FATES WARNING, this project leans more toward the FM side of things, but heavier. Kings of Mercia is in the same vein as A-Z, released earlier this year by Metal Blade Records, which also features FATES WARNING alumni. Is Metal Blade trying to become the American version of Frontiers Music with these new mixed genre ‘supergroups’? Only time will tell.

“Wrecking Ball” is the album’s lead track and first single release. The song is led by a driving riff and a melodic chorus. Phillips is tight in the pocket with his drum beat on the inspiring pep-talk that is “Humankind”. Jim Matheos sets his fretboard on fire with his licks throughout “Set The World On Fire”, and there are some cool programming effects thrown in that enhance the track.

Matheos busts out the acoustics for “Too Far Gone” before kicking things up a notch. “Liberate Me” reminds you why Philips is such an in-demand drummer. “Everyday Angels” sounds like it could easily fit into the FM catalog. It’s a powerful ballad about the unsung heroes of this world.

Kings of Mercia just didn’t work for me. As usual, Steve Overland sounds like his younger self. Matheos, Vera, and Phillps are as tight as ever, but the songs just aren’t there. I am a huge fan of Steve Overland and it hurts me to write that this is not his best work.

It’s not all bad. There are a few songs that I could go back to, but it really wouldn’t be that often. The album just feels a bit stale and mechanical to me, with no real chemistry bleeding through. A by-the-books, file-sharing recorded album if you will.

2.5 Out Of 5.0


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