GATHERING OF KINGS – FIRST MISSION
The word AOR sends shivers down my spine, because all I can think of is cheesy Boston / Journey or REO Speedwagon songs. However I feel that Gathering Of Kings is more of a modern melodic rock “band”(it is a project after all!).
“Forever And a Day”, the first track shows how a singer mostly known for growling sure can sing clean too, in the form of Björn Strid(Soilwork / Night Flight Orchestra). He has already shown his melodic skills in TNFO so it might not come as a big surprise. Of course, it´s well-oiled with keyboards by Rickard Larsson (also known from TNFO). In my ears this music, labelled AOR are very close to being unbearable, but Björns fantastic vocals saves the song. And the use of keyboard is held to a minimal (if it ever is in this kind of music).
Enter Rick Altzi (Masterplan) with his similar vocals to Jorn Lande he brings a rougher edge to the project. But Rick’s voice is just as suitable to GOK as Björns. I like his work in his main band and he doesn´t disappoint in “Love Will Stay Alive”.
“Endless Paradise” welcomes Saffire´s singer Tobias Jansson to the microphone. So far all three songs has been different but carried on by great vocals. Tobias song is cleaner than Ricks and closer to AOR.
Fifth track “Saviour” sends Firewind singer Apollo Papathanasio to the front stage. Backed by Martin Sweet of Crashdiet and Victor Olsson on guitar this track is one which I will go around singing after the albums finished.
The first ballad “Passing Rain” comes up next with Rick once again showing his skills. If this album would be released in the 90´s the song would easily ended up on any “Power Ballad” collection released.
“Out of my life” and the tempo steps up again, with another track I might come on to myself to hum along to(at least the guitar in the beginning are infectious). Lifts the record again and as I figure out Tobias Jansson is one hell of a melodic rock singer. Jens Westin is welcomed to center stage on “Lonely Road”. Surprisingly good since Corroded isn´t my cup of tea at all but here he does a great job. Ninth track “Angels” sounds like a song you heard somewhere before but it´s not, just something familiar with the catchy melodies.
Should I have wished for a Whitesnake cover with a title like “Long Way from Home”. Yes and no. But it isn’t. And it´s not a track anyone will remember after hearing it either. Alexander Frisborg sounds like Michael Sweets unknown little brother and that is not in a good way this time. That´s why I said no to my belief that it was a Whitesnake cover.
And now! Fasten your seatbelts all you Swedes. Carola are present. This time she´s been transformed into Björn Strid. And hearing this song makes me think of how she could have been a name international if she would have a different image/approach and different advisors. All you international readers please YouTube Carola – The Runaway and you can hear the original version.
The final track is “Battle cry” and of course Rick Altzi shows us who the king of the record is. And after backing Jens, Jens now appears as the guitar player which he do perfectly. Now I’m off to listening to Masterplan….
All in all a good record. Maybe they should have taken it easy with promoting it as AOR, and more Melodic rock supergroup, as you might have figured out – Melodic Rock /AOR are deep waters for me so I go for the classic melodic rock genre.
Band: Gathering Of Kings
Titel: First Mission
Label: RN Records
Date of release: 2019-01-25
Stand out track: Love Will Stay Alive