Kings of Mercia is a band, something of a ‘supergroup’, consisting of guitarist Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, OSI), singer Steve Overland (FM-UK, Lonerider), bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning), and legendary drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, Intelligent Music Project, MSG, and a thousand other credits!). So, began by Metheos, who soon got together with Overland and began putting songs together. I don’t know much of prog-metallers Fates Warning, and little more about AOR-rock act FM-UK, but I like Overland’s vocals guesting on the new White Spirit album, and sometimes not knowing too much is a nice start, without any expectations. So, this one I’ve had on a few times, and it has grown on me as a mighty fine listen, where every track is good (at least) and it all flows so well from song to song.
Steve Overland (who also has a new album out with Lonerider) has a very unmistakable voice, who would’ve been a fine fit to replace Paul Rodgers (hence Lonerider with Simon Kirke!). A solid set of heavy guitar melodic rock, with excellent vocals, harmonies, and arrangements. Love the guitar tone, and the production. It’s heavy overall – but not quite metal. Progg-ish, but not totally progressive or AOR, for that matter. So you get to the end of this album having thought ‘this is awesome’ – but it’s over! “Wrecking Ball”, “Humankind”, the powerful heavy “Set The World On Fire”, “Is It Right” — all great rockers. A couple of ballads here as well, notably “Everyday Angels”, this would make a fine single.
The band has also just released a new video for the track “Humankind” –