ALBUM REVIEW: Kings of Mercia – Kings of Mercia


One of the things that was great about growing up in the seventies was the soothing, grounded music. There was an earthiness to some of the music that just made the listener feel good. The songs weren’t too complex, nor were they too simple; they just existed to make the listener get in tune with their surroundings. Fast forward fifty years and life is just more complex and frenetic. This is reflected in some genres of music. It can be a struggle to find earthy music that makes you feel good.

What then, does one listen to when one just wants to relax and listen to good music, without having to have their minds blown by intricate playing or deep and meaningful lyrics or conversely, is so frenetic or dark or just plain “too” head-bangy? Into this fray to answer this quandary strides Kings of Mercia with their self-titled first album for Metal Blade Records.


So, once again Jim Matheos reaches into his musical bag of tricks and pulls out the perfect, relaxing, easy listening, rock album. Matheos teams with Steve Overland on vocals, Simon Phillips on drums, and (my personal favourite) Joey Vera on bass to create Kings of Mercia. Kings of Mercia is perfectly delicious rock and roll. To wit, thirty years from now, it could be on the “yacht rock” stations. That’s how relaxing and smooth it is.

That is, it’s smooth and relaxing for hard rock. This is the milk chocolate of hard rock; creamy, filling, and wickedly delicious. The song that encapsulates this is ‘Too Far Gone’. It’s soulful and understated. Steve Overland’s vocals are pristine. It feels like you are in a field full of daisies and dandelions. There is a slight breeze and your dog is loping at your side.


‘Sweet Revenge’ is another scorcher. It’s got elements of blues, funk, and metal. It’s deep and guttural and of the earth. Everything about the song hits you in the gut. ‘Sweet Revenge’ is mouth wateringly heavy. The album ends with ‘Your Life’. It’s an amazing song. Solidly put together, it boasts shredding guitar solos, wicked melodies, deep vocal harmonies, and stick-it-to-ya drumming. Overland’s vocals here are sublime.


Kings of Mercia have created a wonderful, soulful and heavy album. It’s everything a musicophile wants and loves in an album as the ten songs on Kings of Mercia are strong from start to finish. This is listening enjoyment.


Buy the album here:

8 / 10