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(58:42+30:00 CD+DVD, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. We Only Come to Help You 5:45 2. Future 6:16 3. Journey in Time 5:19 4. I Put a Spell On You 4:34 5. Empires of Steel 9:16 6. Walk with Angels 4:40 7. Time Captives 7:39 8. Sunset Sail 6:20 9. Demon of Love 4:06 10. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood 4:47 Bonus DVD – “Live at Motor City Factory”: 1. We Only Came to Help You 2. Empires of Steel 3. Time Captives 4. Demon of Love 5. Demon of Love-‘88 + interview LINEUP: Victor Peraino – vocals; keyboards, Moog, Mellotron Arthur Brown – vocals Jeff Faust – guitars James Pryor – drums Nick Pynn – violin Joe Bass – bass With: Joey Fava – drums Ric Vulmirovich – bass
Prolusion. The UK band KINGDOM COME was the band of British artist Arthur Brown in the first half of the 70's, releasing three critically acclaimed albums before they folded in 1974. The keyboardist in the final line-up, US musician Victor Peraino, was given and used the opportunity to continue using the band name, and released a single album in 1975 as Victor Peraino's Kingdom Come. Since then news around the band have been fairly quiet, although it would appear that there's been a bit of activity. Featuring Arthur Brown on vocals again, "Journey in Time" is the second full-length production issued by the US based version of the band, and was released through the Italian label Black Widow Records in 2014.
Analysis. I will have to admit that my knowledge about Kingdom Come, prior to be sent this CD, was limited to the activities of a German band that has used the same band name for a few decades now. And when I did a bit of research about this album and this band, this CD struck me as something of an oddity. A couple of cover versions, a handful of old compositions in more or less new guise and a handful of new tracks. The kind of album bands in the days of old would release in between heavy bouts of touring, and not what one would normally expect from a band that has come together again following almost 4 decades of keeping a really low profile. The content itself is just about as odd as the context too. To kick off with the bonus DVD straight away, this is a mere half hour, the grater majority of a stage performance of the current version of the band playing some of the songs represented on the album. If it is truly a concert I don't really know, as the performance sounds very much like the songs on the CD. Which may indicate that those songs are recorded live, or that the live performance may be one utilizing playback, or that the sound from the live performance has been replaced with the studio version of the tracks performed. It is an odd one, no matter how you regard it. And as far as the footage from the 80's is concerned, that is basically a commercial/news item aired on MTV for a rock opera starring Kingdom Come that I've never heard about until just now. If it is a low key project from back then or a project that crashed before it went live is another of those issues I don't know anything about. Still, to call it an interview is to describe this content in a less than accurate context. It's not erroneous as such, as there is an interview section in there, but way too brief and too focused on the aforementioned project to represent what most people would expect when seeing the word interview. The core style of Kingdom Come as of 2014 appears to be a brand of melodic hard rock that is comparable to classic Deep Purple. Organ and guitar combinations are central elements throughout, and fairly often certain key passages or dominant details make comparisons in that department unavoidable. This core foundation is liberally flavored with additional textures however, plenty of cosmic sounds that bring a Hawkwind and spacerock vibe to the proceedings, while additional and often flamboyant keyboard arrangements do add a touch of progressive rock to the proceedings as well. The latter aspect, combined with some passionate vocal details, does give some of the songs a slight Uriah Heep vibe too, and Arthur Brown's vocal skills obviously add a theatrical, melodramatic touch to the material. The end result isn't quite as compelling as one would expect, though. An additional touch of early 80's melodic hard rock does make a few of the songs sound rather dated, at least to my ears, and some of the songs just don't manage to gel for me. The main themes don't come across as all that compelling either, and fairly often I found the compositions to become too melodramatic. The ballad Walk with Angels didn't manage to convince me at all, while opening number We Only Came to Help You and the cover of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, (which is presumably based on The Animals cover version of this composition), never managed to escape the boundaries of the mediocre, as I experienced those songs. Pleasant enough fare, but too much bread and butter when you'd really prefer a juicy steak. Much the same can be said about Sunset Sail, where my main impression is that the band attempts to do a song in the vintage Genesis style, but doesn't quite manages to pull it off. On some occasions all the elements come into place in a more compelling manner however. The elongated Empires of Steel is an intriguing experience through and through, and the psychedelic-oriented Time Captives is another example of Kingdom Come as of 2014 firing on just about all cylinders. But the album highlight, at least as far as I'm concerned, is their version of Screaming Jaw Hawkwins’ I Put a Spell on You, a song that fits very well indeed with the somewhat pompous, melodramatic coating the classic has been given in this version.
Conclusion. Kingdom Come as of 2014 comes across as a band that still has a bit of development to do before they manage to combine their individual talents into a greater whole. Their brand of melodic vintage hard rock liberally flavored with cosmic effects and multi-layered keyboard arrangements does have its charm of course, and at best they explore some truly intriguing landscapes, but at this point the end result is somewhat uneven. If you enjoy this classic 70's band this album is worth taking a look at of course, and if you do find the description of the music interesting you can do a lot worse than giving this album a spin. A somewhat uneven production, but with some very fine moments worth experiencing.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 3, 2014
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