Kingshifter: 26 Tons review

\"KingShifterEvery once in a while, a new band comes along with a debut that is so astonishing, it causes the music industry and fans across the globe to stand up and take notice. Such is the case for newcomers KingShifter from Wichita, KS. Their monumental debut full length album for Pavement Music called “26 Tons” is set to explode like a powder keg and will surely propel them into the upper echelons of music’s elite, allowing them to take their place alongside of some of metals biggest and most respected acts.

The band was founded with a very simple mission statement says lead singer Sprout, “to play hard ass rock, end of story”. They don’t follow trends and their music speaks for itself. The rest of the band, rounded out by Kink on guitar, Derek on bass and David on drums adds, “it’s all about the riffs and the booze”. The music can be best described as heavy groove riffage, thick with melody and wrought with infectious hooks with a more accessible and mainstream edge, combined with thought provoking and topical lyrical themes.

The band, have accomplished a lot in their short existence and are causing quite a stir with industry insiders. Their debut EP “Woes Of The Abysmal” received critical acclaim and it’s lead single “Cannonball” had an impressive 9 wins in a cage match, beating out bands like All That Remains. That success garnered them a spot on the Ozzy Osbourne millennium tribute album “No More Tears,” covering the Black Sabbath classic “Hole In The Sky.”

The revolution begins with one of the albums best tracks. The Hellyeah flavored “Peace Of Mind.”  The defiant lyrics of ‘We won’t take it anymore’ punctuate the Black Stone Cherry inspired “Revolution Generation.” While tracks like “Unbroken” and “Dry Heave” channel the sound of bands like C.O.C., Down and  Sevendust.  The band starts to hit their stride with their Texas Hippie Coalition styled party anthem for the blue collar worker “Downin’ Booze-Raisin’ Hell.”

The unapologetic swagger of “KingShifter Style” is reminiscent of Monster Magnet and the lyrics of ‘I can’t live without sex and death’ will stick with you long after the cd has finished. “STFU (& Die Already)” is full on Motorhead, while “Pitch Black Blues” pairs Soundgarden and Sevendust with spectacular results. “Song From The Swamp” is heavily influenced by Pantera’s “Drag The Waters” and closer “Thumbsucker” is half Stuck Mojo and half Black Label Society, but all groove.

Here’s the bottom line. If you want or like heavy guitar grooves, this album serves them up by the ton. Combine that with the fact that there are not just a few good songs here, but 11 of them and you’ll start to understand why this is in the running for best debut album of 2013.

All killer, no filler start to finish. 9.5 out of 10.

-Eric Hunker