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All For the King band

Out of the great land of Sweden (seems so many great bands come from there, huh?) comes a hot new group of hard rockers you need to check out. With so much great music flying across my desk, it is only so often that ones really grabs my attention, and All For the King did just that. I am not exactly sure why, aside from being surprised that a little known band comes with a first release that sounds so well produced.

The band would be best categorized as hard rock, though it is heavy enough in my opinion to be considered old school metal (think Black Sabbath). The thing that grabbed my attention the most was just how fat and powerful the guitars come across — and I am only listening through small speakers. I can only imagine how this would sound on vinyl through my system.

All For the King CD front

Never exceeding the speed limit of a mid tempo hard rock sound, it is not slow enough to be thought of as doom, but it feels just as heavy but with a great groove. Vocally clean as one would expect for this style, vocalist Ricard Hulteke has a perfect voice to match this music. When he goes a little higher, at times he reminds me a bit of Phil Mogg (UFO); when he goes to the lower register, it is reminiscent of Fredrik Sjoholm (Veni Domine). I guess if I had to pin down a sound, the band often reminds me of Veni Domine on their more straight forward, heavier guitar driven songs. Maybe it is something in the water over in Sweden.

Vocalist Hulteke previously appeared with Empire 21 on their excellent 2014 self-titled release. Empire 21 was pretty much a super-group type line up, as it had originally featured vocalist German Pascual (Narnia) (until Hulteke stepped in), and also featured drummer Tobias Enbert (Darkwater, Harmony),  and guitarist CJ Grimmark (primarily known for his work with Narnia, but has also has worked withJerusalemSaviour Machine, Rob Rock, Fullforce, Divinefire, Audiovision, and Flagship). So, yeah, Hulteke comes from working with good company.

All For the King CD back

With titles like "I Am God," "Not Ashamed" and "Salt of the Earth," you can tell that All For the King is going to be unquestionably Christian in their lyrical approach, and they are, and it is done with mature songwriting skill. The band is filled out with drummer Richard Tonyson (Captain Crow),  bassist Johan Tjernström, and guitarist Erik Tilling. The band is filled with time-tested, mature and experienced musicians, and it shows. I like how photographer and journalist Mikael Good puts it (as mentioned in their promo material):

In spite of a high average age of a debut band, it does not feel funky and old, but young and vital. With their routine and joy, they can easily play both the shirt and the tie of many younger bands.

Erik Tilling is standing to the right of the stage and plays with a lot of pondus, delivering one heavy guitar riff after another that gets the concrete floor to vibrate. I get think of riff champion Tony Iommi when I hear him play. But Erik does not plagiarize without finding his own personal expression and style.

The singer Ricard Hulteke delivers the songs with his entire registry. He has his roots in soul, gospel and praise, and is also a singer in the critically acclaimed hard rock band Empire 21. Although Ricard began singing hard rock late in life, he has already emerged as one of the best classical hard rock voices. His song reminiscent of the deepest darling singer Glenn Hughes, in my opinion. He does not reach as high as Glenn, but Ricard has more depth and weight in the voice.

So, if you are like me, and enjoy taking a break from the high-speed power metal shredding, or the intensity of extreme metal, to enjoy some thick and grooving guitar driver hard rock, you HAVE to check out All For the King. Hopefully you are as impressed as I have become.

At the time of this writing, the album is on Spotify, and the bands Facebook page shows it is available on CD and vinyl, but for us on the USA side of the world, we probably have to find a way to get it as an import for now. I, for one, hope to track down a vinyl edition.

All For the King live shot

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