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Kings Of Mercia: Kings Of Mercia
Kings Of Mercia 2022 Debut Album Art

Kings Of Mercia: Kings Of Mercia

(Melodic) Heavy Guitar Rock
4.0/5.0

Kings Of Mercia is not a historical reference to early English history. It's a new project created by Fates Warning founder and guitarist Jim Matheos (also Arch/Mathoes, Tuesday The Sky, et al), with Steve Overland (FM, Overland, et al) on vocals. You may find that an odd combination of fellows, but perhaps not. We'll get to that in a moment.

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Overland & Matheos

The origins of Kings Of Mercia began with the Matheos' putting his musical mind to work creating new music with no genre boundaries. However, as he continued his songwriting, he discovered many arrangements were leading him back to his hard and heavy rock beginnings. Developing the new tunes, Matheos went to work finding a vocalist. With many candidates to consider, a friend recommended FM's Steve Overland. The result is a blend, or hybrid, of Matheos guitar-forward heavy rock and Overland's melodic rock roots and soulful/blues vocal style.

This collaboration turns out to be a fine one. Essentially, you get exactly what I described. The music is indeed heavy, yet also melodic. The latter is largely due to Overland's melodic and harmonious vocals. Additionally, if you like strong guitar work, you will find that Matheos is terrific as his solos rise and soar in every song.


You'll find straight-up heavy rock with songs such as Set The World On Fire, Wrecking Ball, or Nowhere Man. However, that last song, along with, perhaps Sweet Revenge, also brings out some subtle blues groove, and Overland gets his soul voice going. Surprisingly, there is a ballad within this album in Everyday Angels, which is another occasion for Overland's soulful vocal temperament to expand. Alternatively, something like the closer Your Life is heavy, steady, and slow grooving with tough riffs and even tougher rhythm section. (and maybe a tad too long).

All in all, Kings Of Mercia's debut album, featuring Jim Matheos and Steve Overland turns out to be an interesting and entertaining surprise where the former's heavy rock meets the latter's melodic soulful roots. Recommended.


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The Take Away

All in all, Kings Of Mercia's debut album, featuring Jim Matheos and Steve Overland turns out to be an interesting and entertaining surprise where the former's heavy rock meets the latter's melodic soulful roots. Recommended.

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