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CD REVIEW: The Royal Guard - Showdown

By: Cyrus Rhodes


"amazing band - amazing songs"






Artist: The Royal Guard

Album: Showdown

Label: Independent Artist

Website: http://www.myspace.com/theroyalguard

Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock

Sounds Like: Death Cab for cutie, They Might be Giants, The Killers, Modest Mouse

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: All Out War, I Remember When, Yesterday 

Weakness: A Few Winded Songs. Cover Art Concept  


New York based The Royal Guard released their latest CD entitled Showdown in 2009. Band members include Todd Davidson (vocals/guitar); Andy Ascolese (guitar, vocals) and Fred Scragg (drums). 

The CD takes to flight with rocking “All Out War” a dynamic intro piece that methodically serves up rocking guitar ambiance against driving rock rhythm, impressive harmonies and impressive vocal flair from Davidson. Track 2 “Happy” shifts gears a bit with flowing rock rhythm, impressive harmonies against hooky vocal melody from Davidson and company. Track 3 “Yesterday” serves up a clever piece complete with clever lyrical content, thought provoking subject matter and impressive chorus that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic They Might Be Giants, The Killers, Modest Mouse Train, Death Cab for Cutie, and even The Killers. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of variety, solid playing and world class songwriting. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock a slight aftertaste of Alternative Punk. The songs themselves are addictive, and thought provoking complete with passionate thought provoking subject matter. The musicianship of this band is rock solid across the board. The players themselves write and play there parts extremely well. I will ad there are some progressive moments on the CD as well where showcasing some impressive guitar solos and technical timing changes. I also like how this band methodically delivers a skillful combination of Punk, Alternative Rock and even Hard Rock textures - nice touch! Turing our attention to singers Todd Davidson and Andy Ascolese – both of their voices is impressive and fills the sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively and work together like a hand in glove.  From rocking “I Remember When” to striking “Tell Me” to grinding Satellite” to invigorating “Beginning to End” to the heartfelt title track this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 Tell Me (alternative Version” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.


All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.  Don't care for the cover art concept as it lacks a meaningful message and creativity  

Showdown from The Royal Guard is an impressive and highly marketable musical sampler from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, and the messages are extremely thought provoking and passionate in nature. It’s strong suit – the deeply rich production value, hooky songs and strong marketability. It’s amazing how much talent this 3 piece brings to the table, at the end of the day they are an amazing band with amazing songs. The Royal Guard possesses enough musical talent and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous in 2012. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on them.

Cyrus Rhodes

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