Four albums and a live release under their belts since their formation in 2009, Kingmaker is another release that sits perfectly in the traditional Heavy Metal camp. Full of big riffs and anthemic songs, the Swedes, Screamer, bring an enthusiasm that’s difficult to ignore.
Screamer – Kingmaker (Steamhammer / SPV)
Release Date: 13 January 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
The follow-up to 2019’s Highway Of Heroes, Kingmaker sees the debut of guitarist Jon Morheim who joins the solid unit of singer Andreas Wikström, drummer Henrik Petterson, guitarist Dejan Rosić and bassist Fredrik Svensson Carlström. There’s a welcome classic style to this latest release, with harmonies on the vocals, sweet melodic elements and a backbone of hard rock and Metal that never strays far from the blueprint.
That’s not a bad thing, for there is very much room in the world of Metal for this format. The twin guitar attack works well, with some excellent work from both Morheim on his debut and the “Bosnian Santana” Rosić.
The opening combination of Kingmaker and Rise Above define the direction of travel, both songs bringing the band’s sound to the fore. There are plenty of old-school influences alongside elements of Power Metal and more European-sounding styles. Think the likes of Enforcer, Night Demon, and Stormbringer, as well as the traditional ’80s sound of Maiden and Priest.
It’s not all standard format, though, with the recent single The Traveler taking a more sanguine approach, highlighting the quality of the songwriting and the band’s cohesive approach. There’s plenty of energy surging through the whole album, with songs like Hellfire, with its catchy chorus and driving riff catching the ear.
Some thick Hammond organ opens Chasing The Rainbow, the Deep Purple and Rainbow vibe obvious from the start but avoiding any cheesy tribute as it races along. In fact, it’s one of the faster tracks here, and the full-throttle attack is pleasing.
As I mentioned, there are anthems aplenty lurking within the 39 minutes, and ten tracks and nowhere is this more apparent than on Fall Of A Common Man, which has a high tempo and a singalong chorus which is likely to be a favourite when it hits the live set.
Then there’s the infectious riff for penultimate track, Sounds Of The Night, with some subtle layered keyboards and Wikström’s strong vocals bringing an album best performance.
Kingmaker may not be breaking new boundaries, but it brings a quality many bands don’t get near. The musicianship is top-drawer, and the cohesive style and interplay stunning.
It’s an album sure to bring a smile to the face and one that would go down a storm in one of those surprise slots at a summer festival.