This isn't a Foreigner album, but it definitely sounds like one. From start to finish, Shadow King's only album finds the short-lived band emulating Foreigner's sound -- which isn't surprising, because Shadow King was formed by Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm. Quite often, artists who have left well-known bands opted to try something different with their own bands. Gramm, however, made certain that Shadow King was as Foreigner-sounding as possible, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're heavily into his work with that famous hard rock/arena rock outfit. The main difference between the two bands was the personnel -- instead of collaborating with Mick Jones and Ian McDonald, Gramm was joined by bassist Bruce Turgon (formerly of Black Sheep), guitarist Vivian Campbell, and drummer Kevin Valentine when he led this group. Together, Gramm and Turgon wrote most of the material on this CD, and while the results are very Foreigner-minded, this album isn't in a class with Foreigner's best 1970s and 1980s work. This competent, if formulaic, effort doesn't contain any classics -- none of the power ballads are in a class with "Waiting for a Girl Like You" or "I Want to Know What Love Is," and none of the rockers are as memorable as "Hot Blooded," "Feels Like the First Time," or "Cold as Ice." The bottom line is that even though Gramm and Turgon were a capable team, they didn't enjoy quite as strong a rapport as Gramm and Jones. Shadow King's album isn't bad, but it isn't remarkable either. Not recommended to those who have only a casual interest in Gramm's work, this CD is strictly for the singer's most hardcore fans.
Shadow King Review
by Alex Henderson