It’s like my good pal Axl said — we’re swimming in new music this week! Isn’t the end of August supposed to be a slow time for news? Aren’t you all supposed to be on vacation squeezing in those last weeks in your summer homes on the lake?? Oh, I forgot, it’s metal, and metal never takes a vacation.

Tennessee metallers The Showdown are the latest to join the new music party, as they’re streaming their entire new album Blood in the Gears at AOL Music. As I’ve written before, I prefer their earlier cock-rock inspired work to the heavier material they’ve released of late, but I haven’t disliked anything they’ve put out; it’s just that the newer stuff hasn’t really grabbed me.

But I’m listening to Blood in the Gears all the way through for the first time right now, and it strikes me as a good balance between the hair-inspired riffs of Temptation Come My Way and the all-out heaviness of Back Breaker. I’m hearing a lot of Pantera influence, especially in album opener “The Man Named Hell” — for which the video is posted above… holy crap! awesome way to start an album! try and see past the silly, cliched monster truck / motorcycle imagery — and I like that. The main riff that comprises “No Escape,” in all its No More Tears-era Zakk Wylde glory, is as good as any the band’s ever written. These Tennesseeans really seem to be letting their southern roots shine throughout the album and maybe letting those cock rock influence seep back into their sound, and there’s enough good stuff here to pique my interest. I’m looking forward to sitting down with this album and giving it a good listen.

Check out all of Blood in the Gears here and tell us what you think of it.


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