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Back Breaker

  • reviewed by Andrea Dawn Goforth Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Aug
Back Breaker
Sounds like … a hardcore metal throwback, yet modern mash-up of Pantera, old-school Metallica, Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, and Living SacrificeAt a glance … The Showdown shows up to battle with this hard hitting, pure metal release that shows passion for their God and their craft. Track Listing Titanomachy—The Beginning Hephaestus—The Hammer of the Gods Aphrodite—The Disillusionaire Achilles—The Backbreaker Prometheus—The Fires Of Deliverance Cerberus—The Hellhound Awaits Odysseus—A Son of Hope Aries—I Am Vengeance Infernus—You Will Move Nemesis—Give Us this Day Medea—One Foot In Hell

"With this album, there is no question… we committed to heavy metal." That's how David Bunton, lead singer of The Showdown, described the making of the band's new album Back Breaker, the band's third project but their first release with Tooth & Nail's heavy metal imprint, Solid State. In the good company of other metal bands like Living Sacrifice, Norma Jean, Haste the Day, and Demon Hunter, the switch to Solid State has confirmed The Showdown's love and devotion to the heavy rocking genre.

Moreover, The Showdown seems to have finally found their niche with Back Breaker. "I can honestly say this feels like our debut" says Bunton. Straying from the hardcore and southern metal genres found on their previous albums, the throw back style of Back Breaker feels strongly influenced by Pantera and '80s thrash bands such as Iron Maiden and old-school Metallica.

The guitar work ranges from thrashy chugging riffs to excellent '80s styled solos, like in "Odyseus – Son of Hope". Vocally, they cover a lot of ground too, from chops reminiscent of Phil Anselmo (Pantera), to earth-shakingly low growls, not to mention powerful gang vocals that make tracks like "Achellis – The Back Breaker" stand out.

While the music is very in-your-face, this is a group of guys who don't take themselves too seriously, giving just a bit of '80s metal satire a la Spinal Tap. For example, at the end of "Aphrodite – The Disillusionaire," the band makes you believe they have ended the song multiple times just to come back in 10 seconds later and slam the real ending.

The group's lyrics poetically cover a broad range of emotions and experiences, like being sucked in by the world ("Achilles – The BackBreaker"), becoming a force against evil ("Infernus – You Will Move"), and dealing with doubt ("Medea – One Foot In Hell"). Ultimately, the album expresses a sense of hope and empowerment, best represented in "Odysseus – A Song of Hope": "We are the deaf, but you will hear us sing again… A song of hope (a song of life)/A song to urge the ill advised."

Although the album does drag a bit through the ending tracks, the music is solid and the band finds balance between embracing their influences and sounding fresh. Back Breaker is the best yet from The Showdown, enough to make any metal-loving Christ-follower want to strap on the armor, sharpen the sword, and go 300 on the powers of darkness.

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