Leaders and Kings
Leaders and Kings
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Nashville-based rockers Leaders and Kings recently released their debut, self-titled record. While at its heart it’s a tried and true Hard Rock record, there are twinges of nineties Alt. Rock as well.
On the first couple spins, this record really brought to mind Creed’s first album. It’s not that it exactly sounds like that, but the combination of big guitars and positive lyrics and anthemic choruses just made that connection seem plausible. I want to be clear that the Creed comparison is not a knock on the band. You SHOULD want to be connected to a band that has sold as many records as Stapp & Co. On the other hand, I can certainly hear elements of bands like Smile Empty Soul, Strange Celebrity, and Cold as well.
“Belong” is one of my favorite tracks here. It’s got a darker feel to it and the lead guitars are mesmerizing. The vocals sort of circle around it all, lending a lot more dynamics to the mix than many of the other tracks. The marching Hard Rock of “Stand Up” is another cool moment. It’s a fist-pumper that you could easily imagine enrapturing a stadium crowd on a warm summer evening. “Grace” and “Whispers in the Dark” are anthemic heavy hitters as well. Each has a rockin’ verse that goes over the top with a big, emotionally charged chorus.
Overall, this is a solid record. It’s easy to find other things it sounds like but it’s also not a copycat of anything. My biggest issue here is with the mix. The rhythm section takes way too much of a back seat to the lead guitar and vocals. In my opinion, it takes a good deal of the “oomph” out of the songs and that’s a bummer. If you enjoy big, anthemic Rock there is still more than enough reason to give Leaders and Kings a spin.
Reviewed by mark1340