Friday, February 28, 2014

The Approach and the Execution-Kings Among Runaways


This Saturday, March 1st, 2014 to be exact (tomorrow friends!), Cleveland epic metal band The Approach and the Execution will have their album release party for "Kings Among Runaways" at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio. It will also serve as their last Cleveland show (at least for awhile!) as the band has recently packed their bags and headed out west for the warm California sun. Opening acts scheduled for the event include Deadiron, Ruins of Tekoah, Purveyors of Fiction, Dynamite Thunderpunch, Between Hell And High Water and Caves. I mention all of this up-front so that fans and friends of the band can come and say their proper fair-wells and send off  what has been one of Ohio's most friendly and down to Earth metal bands in style! So, if you're in the area and want to experience what promises to be a spectacular night of metal then by all means head on down to the Agora Ballroom! Doors open at 7pm! With all of that said let's take a sneak peek at "Kings Among Runaways", the second over-all full-length release from The Approach and the Execution that was funded by fans thanks to Kickstarter. As we all know sophomore releases can be hit or miss. Especially when a band has undertaken line-up changes and there has been a four-year gap between albums! Last time we checked in with this lot (2010's "The Blood March") they were fronted by guitarist Jeremy Richard and had wonderful female backing vocals courtesy of keyboardist Julie Peterson. Both musicians are now gone (along with then drummer Riley Kovac) although (ragging metal maniac turned second grade teacher) Jeremy Richard does stop by on "Kings Among Runaways" to say "Hey". Up-front on the mic we now have founding member Mike Notte (who also handles guitars) and with two other holdovers (lead guitarist Andy Fischer and bass guitarist/vocalist Nick Kozono) being joined by two new members (guitarist/vocalist Sam Wilson and drummer Gabe Dickey) everything is firmly in place. Or at least it was for the recording of this album*. Opening strong with "The Warrior's Psalm" we find The Approach and the Execution once again taking the best parts of classic metal bands like Iron Maiden, Armored Saint, Black Sabbath, Manowar and Judas Priest and, after adding elements from the likes of Trivium, Protest The Hero, Slayer, Coheed and Cambria, Megadeth and Killswitch Engage, unleashing epic and unrelenting heavy metal that is remarkably all their own! Long ago guitarist Andy Fisher established his own key-style of playing and his trademark lead solos explode over the course of this 9-track epic metal release! Besides new cuts like "The Warrior's Psalm", "A Graveyard Marked For Two" (an early fave cut!) and the title cut (which can be heard at the bandcamp link below) album number two comes packed with a re-recorded version of "The Plague Knows No Prejudice" and the previously released single "Hymn Of Victory" (from May of 2013). Minus the female backing vocals of the lovely Julie Peterson, whose presence is sometimes missed on "Kings Among Runaways", "The Plague Knows No Prejudice" comes across as way more brutal. And speaking of brutal, "Ghost Pilot" closes "Kings Among Runaways" in proper style, heavy & crushing(!), making one appreciate just how effective it is when you book-end exception tracks as openers and closes! Of course in-between those two numbers there's plenty of meat and potato metal numbers like the title cut (feat. guest vocals from Deadiron's Alexander Van Ness) and previously-released single "Hymn Of Victory". What helps an album like "Kings Among Runaways" work so well is how everyone shines in their collective moment in the spot-light. Mike's voice is clean and clear and everything, whether we are talking about Fisher's leads or the tight rhythm section of Kozono and Dickey, just gels. The excellent "Faith Aligned" is a prime example of this. Here Mike's singing is cushioned by the smooth combination of progressive and epic metal and, even at 7 minutes in length, it moves along at such a nice brisk pace that there is never a fear that it might end up losing the listeners' attention! All in all "Kings Among Runaways" is everything a sophomore release should be. It shows necessary growth while remembering where it is that it's roots are planted at. Where this band will go next only time will tell. But, based upon the strength of "Kings Among Runaways" I'd say that the west coast better be ready for what's heading their way!

* With the move out west there will naturally be more line-up changes, but that's another story for another time!

Flyer for tomorrow night's show!

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