Double Visions out of 10
About as generic as you can get. It's a black and white photo of the
band and their name in the corner. They don't even have a logo. It looks
like a demo.
Head Games out of 10
It's better than the cover, but not much. There's lyrics and the booklet
folds out to show a big picture of the band, sillohetted, standing on
a city rooftop and casting long shadows. Is that a play on the name
"Shadow King?" Ha. I get it.
Jukebox Heroes out of 10
There's no doubt that these songs were written and recorded by pros.
It's high-production hard rock, embellished by seasoned musicianship.
Led by the vocalist Lou Gramm (best known for his long-standing career
as Foreigner's frontman), and augmented by the intensely proficient
guitar stylings of Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, and now Def Leppard),
Shadow King's tunes aimed straight for rock radio. That being said,
these songs are kind of, umm, underwhelming. Lou Gramm has one of the
best rock voices in the world; listen to Foreigner's first 2 albums
if you don't believe me! So for him to step away from the radio-friendly
ballads that he was most known for, and to take a leap of faith and
do a real hard rock album... well, it was something met with great anticipation
by critics and fans alike. So you'd think he'd come up with something
a little more memorable. Don't get me wrong, there's a few gems here
and there ("I Want You" is a solid rock tune where Gramm gets
to belt it out like a mothertrucker), but most of the songs are soaked
in mediocrity. Overall, Shadow King's one and only effort is just this
side of lackluster.
Comments: Originally, this
was supposed to be Lou Gramm's third solo album, co-written with bassist
and longtime collaborator Bruce Turgon. Somewhere in the process, it
was decided that Lou would depart from his radio-friendly solo fodder
and instead rock out like the dirty white boy he is. They got Viv Campbell
and some drummer named Kevin Valentine to round out the tracks they'd
already laid down and Shadow King was born. They did one gig on December
13 1991 at London's Astoria Theatre, but found out the hard way they
didn't jam together very well on stage. They sucked! And that was that
for Shadow King. Lou Gramm went back to Foreigner, taking a few years
off to deal with a nasty brain tumor. Bruce Turgon went on to score
music for HBO boxing matches. Who cares what happened to Kevin Valentine.
And poor Vivian Campbell put his Shadow King CD on the rack with Trinity,
Riverdogs, Clock, and all of his other projects that didn't make it.
FUN FACT: A Shadow King song which didn't make it onto the album, "One
Dream," can be heard during the end credits of the movie Highlander
II. There can be only one!