Review: King Company – 'One For The Road'

King Company? Of course I’ve heard of them… been into them for ages, mate”. If, like me, you worshipped at the the altar of 80’s melodic hard rock, and counted Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow as your favourite band of the decade, then King Company might just be the one for you. Fearsome guitars, big riffs, bigger melodies, and even bigger hooks are the order of the day on this, their debut album. Throw in some echoes of Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Mr Big, and even Led Zeppelin (especially the guitars on ‘One Heart’), and you get the picture. Fashionable, it may not be, but really, who gives a fuck about fashion? There truly are some belting songs on ‘One For The Road’, The title track sets the standard from the off, a track that reminds me of Rainbow’s ‘Spotlight Kid’. Vocalist, Pasi Rantanen has a very strong voice, somewhere between David Coverdale and Eric Martin, if you need a comparison. Keyboardist, Jari Pailamo has a crucial role to play. His sound is quite subtle until he launches into a classic hammond organ duel with the guitar. Likewise, on ‘In Wheels of No Return’, the keys play a major role. ’Shining’ could have been an outtake from Whitesnake’s iconic ‘1987’ album, as Rantanen unleashes a throaty rasp to match Lord Coverdale, and the guitar has a seductive teasing feel to it. If I close my eyes, I can picture the video right now… guy in a convertible with a stunning model in the passenger seat, who at any given moment does cartwheels across the bonnet as King Company play in the background… what you mean it’s been done already? The point being, this is rock music pre grunge, pre Seattle, and pre po-faced rock stars that don’t want to be rock stars. The vibes keep flowing with more glorious hooks, ‘Farewell’ in particular standing out. The chorus is simply massive, and one of the many highlights on the album. A good old fashioned boy meets girl, boy does a runner to find himself tale, that gets better with each listen. ’Cast Away’ is classic power ballad material, with an exquisite guitar solo from Antti Wirman. Short, but exquisite none the less. ’Desire’ ramps it up, with Rantanen again channeling Coverdales’ sexual overtones, and a great punchy groove from the engine room team of Mirka Rantanen on drums and bassist Time Schleifer. The closing pair of ‘Holding On’ and ‘One Heart’ round the album off in fine style. More gigantic hooks and soaring guitar solos. ’One Heart’ breaks away from the norm with its ‘Kashmir’ influenced guitar grooves, and has an epic feel to it, a big and bold statement from King Company. If melodic hard rock is your bag, then this is a highly recommended album. Hopefully, ‘One For The Road’ leads to one more for the road, as this is a damn fine album to shut up all the Tommy Saxondales out there whining and moaning. They do make them like they used to… you just need to look. ‘One For The Road’ is out now through Frontiers. Review: Dave Stott]]>

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