Sons of Kal-El

Songs From the Phantom Zone

Written by: BW on 27/04/2014 20:50:02

When you’re given a review to do and the name Kal-El is in the band title, you really have to try hard not to do any Superman jokes. The four piece rockers based in England certainly like their comic book characters by the sounds of things, but can they be heroes on the music scene?

The first song from “Songs From the Phantom Zone” sounds good enough and is a steady rock song. It doesn’t deviate from the plan of what others have done before and I’m sure many after will do the same. “Wasted Path” has a good beat, nice enough guitars and everything else a generic rock and roll song should have. The singing though does leave a little to be desired. It’s much in the same way that a lot of people just don’t think Brian Johnson can sing at the front of AC/DC, but I feel this could be a Marmite situation, in that you’ll either like it or feel it’s wrong. After song one, I’m leaning to the latter.

“Resume” isn’t making me feel any more optimistic. I think the pattern that is emerging is that in terms of the musical aspect of the band things are tight, but not really as such anything that stands out and the only thing that does stand out really shouldn’t. In this song we at least get a backing vocal, but if I have to be critical, there is just no WOW factor and in a genre that is filled with rock and rollers that has to be present to get you intrigued. We are only two songs in though, so let’s continue.

“Paris” starts off well enough, with a slight lean towards Thin Lizzy in their heyday. It is an upbeat little song and at least has the vocals toned down a little and I’ll say this, it makes more of a difference than it probably should. The melody does make the fingers tap, which is good. The sad thing is that it again doesn’t sound unique enough to any other bands that are out there. Sure enough, in the middle we even get the slowed down drumming and scream section to allow fans to get into the song. The predictability is actually a little sad.

I suppose these guys are aptly named because just when you think all hope is gone and nothing can save us “Born to Fail” comes along. This is a bloody good song and ironically it is the slow ballad of the album. Little piano sections help bring in the bass and drums, as well as the voice almost heading towards Scott Stapp in that Creed-like Southern twang. This is without doubt the most accomplished song of the album so far. I’d even go so far as to say of the entire thing, but I still have others to go. There is goodness in this track though.

The downside is that the comeback is short lived. Other than “Last Goodbye” the rest of it leaves me lukewarm at best, sadly. I just don’t see anything that stands out or makes me want to listen to them again. The music, although solid enough, doesn’t really grab me and the vocals just make me want to shake my head and think what could be if someone else had a crack on the mic. I fully appreciate that this is a first album, but the problem I have is that I’ve heard other first albums and some have truly blown me away, whereas this just doesn’t. My opinion is that there is a little more development time needed before something standout arrives from them.

As much as you may not think it, it pains me to give out low reviews, as I always know the band are doing what they feel is right, as do their fans. I know there will be a following and they will no doubt disagree with me, but listening as an outsider, I just don’t feel excited at all. Most of the album just sounds samey and to me they are the equivalent of the first support act that would be on to give people time to get in to see the main event. There is work needed, that is certain and I hope Sons of Kal-El don’t give up, but as first outings go, this is just not super, man.


Download: Born To Fail, Last Goodbye
For The Fans Of: Foo Fighters, Audioslave, Creed, Alter Bridge

Release date 02.05.2014
CLA Records

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