||THE CREAM OF FINNISH METAL JOIN FORCES AND TAKE A TRIUMPHANT MELODIC ROCK PATH
King Company: 'One For The Road'
Out Now (Frontiers)
To the average rock fan, identifying the members of 'supergroup' King Company may be a tad tricky but to enthusiasts of Finnish rock music their names need no introduction.
Containing members of Thunderstone, Children Of Bodom and Northern Kings to name a few, it's the brainchild of drummer Mirka 'Leka' Rantanen. Originally named No Man's Land, they've combined their shared love of classic melodic rock that's laden with a cacophony of addictive hooks and potent riffage.
I must admit to approaching 'supergroups' with a large amount of trepidation. If it comes off, it can be pure ecstasy, Velvet Revolver, The Travelling Wilburys and of course, Cream are prime examples of that. But unfortunately, that's not always the case. Who remembers Contraband?
No such worries here as opener and title track 'One More For The Road' unleashes itself. Drawing influences from classic rock kingpins such as Whitesnake and Rainbow, the tune gives more than a nod and a wink to Deep Purple's Highway Star. It's easy to forget that these boys have spent the majority of their careers hammering out progressive and power Metal to loyal and knowledgeable followers.
While the hardened purist might not warm to the radio friendly tones of 'Shining' and 'In Wheels Of No Return', you can't deny that they sound like the work of a band who have been blasting this stuff out for years.
But in fairness, their Metal gene isn't totally left on the backburner; 'Coming Back To Life', 'Farewell' and the insanely addictive 'Wings Of Love' do give off a salivating growl thanks to some serious fret magic from Antti 'Eversti' Wirman. But the real money shots on the record lie in the quality of the ballads; the heavyweight 'No Man's Land' packs a serious nostalgic punch. However, it's dwarfed in comparison to a towering 'Cast Away', penned by keyboardist Jari Pailamo; the monster chorus led by supreme vocalist Pasi Rantanen will stop you in your tracks.
While they may be risking the wrath of the die-hard Metal community, King Company must be admired for their self-indulgence. While it's safe and predictable in parts, you have to say that there are not many bands in the whole of the Metal genre that would have the balls to take a softer route. So don't be expecting members of the Big Four of thrash to join up for a Mongolian jazz album.
One For The Road
In Wheels Of No Return
Coming Back To Life
No Man's Land
Wings Of Love
King Company are:
Antti 'Eversti' Wirman-Guitars
Mirka "Leka" Rantanen-Drums