Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Good old boys, drinking whiskey and rye - 75%

Demon Fang, November 7th, 2020

A Chorus of Obliteration is the album that could. There’s a lot going for it that positively screeches “classic” – namely, how it starts off with the kind of bang most bands wish they could start their albums off with. Having started as a pop punk band, The Showdown integrate this sound well into a more whiskey-tinged melodic metalcore framework. Songs like “Hell Can’t Stop Us Now” and “Epic: A Chorus of Obliteration” are so unabashedly poppy – particularly in the case of the latter’s ridiculously bouncy composition – that even a decade and a half later, their melodies still haven’t left my head. You get songs like “From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror” and “Your Name is Defeat” where they show off their more aggressive leanings. More forceful riffing and harsher vocals creating heavier joints offsets the Simple Plan meets Shadows Fall affectations I mentioned earlier. There’s a lot going for this album that could easily easily EASILY put it up there with the scene’s greats.

I mentioned “Your Name is Defeat” above, and really, even if it feels a bit unfinished, its short length ends up working in its favor. A quick burst of angry riffing, just to get the frustration of creating something out there before getting back to business with the upbeat and triumphant “Your Name is Victory” and the sobering balladry of “Laid to Rest”. There’s no reason to pretend the “Your Name is” songs are all that great, but they do summarize the album rather well. The thing with this album is that the album works at its best when it’s focused on a sound – like “Hell Can’t Stop Us Now” being so ridiculously upbeat that it just feels fucking good, or “From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror” burning your face off with some molten riffing, or “Laid to Rest” with its soulfulness (one of few times where the ballad is a highlight and a great song in its own right). Those three songs, alongside “A Monument Encased in Ash” and “Epic: A Chorus of Obliteration”, are exactly what make this album pop with bopping beats, grooves smoother than a freshly sanded table and riffs that set everything ablaze.

So, what happened? Honestly, a lot of it comes down to the middle third of the album. I mean, “A Proclamation of Evil’s Fate” starts off well with a peppy beat and a neat little lick before kicking into more aggro grooving... and then it just finds itself in this other groove that technically lasts about a couple and a half minutes, but given how short and repetitive it is, it feels like it lasts like a million years! “Dagon Undone (The Reckoning)” has a similar problem, but it’s more to do with how it kind of zips between some hard and fast riffing, a harder groove, some In Flames harmonics and... yeah, basically, this song goes nowhere and comes across quite incomplete. “Iscariot” has a pretty sweet intro and chorus lick, but that’s about it. It’s at about that point that it definitely feels like a first album in that it certainly shows off what they’re capable of, but it lacks the necessary tightness to make it totally work.

Regardless of songs, however, one problem is highly persistent; the harsh vocals are not particularly good. The growls work with the more groove-like death metal-y tracks like “Your Name is Defeat” than they do for tracks that aren’t quite like that like “A Monument Encased in Ash” – and in cases like the latter, it’s really unfitting as it doesn’t really add to any kind of melody or anything. It just is. Even for the former, things that make the greats stand out like presence and brutality aren’t really there. They’re at least suitable – and that’s the good news. The screaming, though? Holy fuck, these are grating! Well, there’s a lot put into them. Yeah, that’s about it, since its acidity does not work at all with anything on this record, and it’s pretty far forward into the mix, really pronouncing its poor implementation – especially during the poppier cuts. Noise rock bands would think it’s too much.

That’s why A Chorus of Obliteration doesn’t quite reach the top. It comes close thanks to its strengths, but its weaknesses plop this fantastic album down to the status of being good. It’s a matter of tightening the songs up to be consistently tops, since the better half of the album showcases some real fucking chops, and the worse half really only has the problem of not having the ideas and techniques unified in any compelling way. That, and the screams are pretty bad. If nothing else, writing a better ballad than pretty much every power metal band not named Blind Guardian definitely counts for something.

Pretty sweet. - 80%

sluyvreduy, September 18th, 2012

The Showdown was a band that I had heard when I was first getting into metal. Their music video for the track "Iscariot" on this album convinced me I had found the right branch of metal to start out with (although that is a matter of opinion). The song had some rather harsh yet varied screaming along with some sweet riffs and guitar work to keep one's mind occupied. The dudes all looked stoned and make-up crazy, but man could they make your foot tap.

As thrash usually is, the instrumentals are a big part of it. Most songs include some brutal intros or solos as well as guest vocalists. In the track "From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror," Josh Scogin of The Chariot chimes in during a cool down to blow your mind with roaring screams from the bowels of Hades. Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice joins in during the chorus of "Dagon Undone (The Reckoning)" at about the middle of the album.

While searching my mental vocabulary, I could find no other word to describe a few moments as "epic". Take the beginning of the first track, for example. A simplistic drumming bit sets the tone for the next minute or so, then is joined by dual guitars which change from light melody to harder hitting noise. When I first heard the vocals, I almost cried, "Oh, great, it's power metal". Even before I could finish that thought, screaming insanity blared through the speakers as though it were the voice of God. This album is not power metal, children.

The vocals as mentioned are varied. Singing exists when they choose to slow down on the final track, "Laid To Rest", but the calm is soon cast aside for some scream-preaching. Epic comes to mind. There is the half-yell, half-scream thing similar to Order of the Fly, yet fitting for the album. The screaming consists of highs like that of Escape the Fate, except the ones on A Chorus of Obliteration are good. The deeps are pretty sweet, but something you could also find in many other bands. However, it does impress me how the vocalist can go from lows to highs as rapidly as he does. There is a bit of darting, fast screaming occasionally.

Overall, it's rather cool. There are some parts worthy of playing just to hear something unique and even the average parts are awesome on this album. Although it isn't one for technicality like some older Crimson Armada, it's still fast-paced and brutal. In short, you won't find A Chorus of Obliteration on an emo kid's wishlist. Keep it brutal.

Potential, Lots of Potential - 65%

Mikesn, June 24th, 2007

A few years ago I remember a friend telling me about a website called PureVolume, and how it was such a great site for finding new bands. So for the next few weeks I searched out the site for up and coming metal bands, jumping from random profile to random profile. To make a long story short, the site didn't really help at all. In fact, I only remember two of the several dozen bands whom I listened to. Yeah. Those two bands were Norma Jean, whom I just can't get into, and The Showdown. Now for those of you who care, The Showdown is a quintet hailing from Elizabethton, Tennessee. Formed in 2002, they've released two albums to date, and though their latest album is a fairly mediocre collection of southern rock songs, the band was once an interesting metalcore act with a hell of a lot of potential. Enter A Chorus of Obliteration.

Though A Chorus of Obliteration is not a particularly original offering, it did show listeners that The Showdown had all the tools to become a leader in the genre. The music heard throughout the 47 or so minute release is an excellent combination of energy, aggression, melody and brutality, all of which play an important role in the album's music. Heaviness and aggression are particularly stressed throughout tracks such as From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror and Dagon Undone (The Reckoning), and the band does a decent job at conveying the ferocity of some of their lyrical passages. But what makes A Chorus of Obliteration so much fun to listen to is not the energetic breakdowns which the band slides through or the brutal screams of frontman David Bunton. No, the real story behind the band is the infectious solos, harmonies, and leads pulled off by guitarists Josh Childers and Travis Bailey. The Iron Maiden-esque melodic guitar lines found throughout songs such as A Monument Encased in Ash, Iscariot, or Hell Can't Stop Us Now add an interesting new dimension to the music.

Of course, with this being The Showdown's first record there will be some obvious kinks for the group to work out. A major issue with A Chorus of Obliteration is that it lacks variety. Most of the songs, specifically the middle three songs, From the Mouth of Gath Comes Terror (though this is one of the record's stronger outings), A Proclamation of Evil's Fate, and Dagon Undone, follow a very similar formula to one another, and at times the songs feel as though they are the same song repeated over and over. Another aspect which The Showdown could have worked on was the vocals. Though David Bunton's clean vocals are very well done, his harsh screams can get rather annoying. Especially in a song like From the Mouth of Gath where it is the only vocal style he employs for the song's full runtime, his efforts can get quite hard on the ears as the quality wavers from acceptable to cringe worthy.

Overall though, The Showdown's first offering was a decent debut album. Despite its obvious flaws, the band still managed to craft a handful of interesting, worthwhile songs. Tracks such as A Monument Encased in Ash and Hell Can't Stop Us Now do an excellent job at drawing in listeners and maintaining their interest, as they are chock full of fun song writing, aggressive riffing, and melodic leads. For fans of metalcore, or even just metal in general, A Chorus of Obliteration is definitely recommended as they piece together a vast majority of the elements important to a band of their ilk. It's too bad they ditched this style on Temptation Come My Way, as they definitely had a lot of potential with this sound.

(Originally written for Sputnikmusic)