KINGS OF MERCIA – Kings Of Mercia

Kings of Mercia album cover art
  • 8/10
    KINGS OF MERCIA - Kings of Mercia - 8/10


Label: Metal Blade Records
Release date: September 23, 2022

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Jim Matheos Strikes Again

Best known for being a founding member of Fates Warning, guitarist Jim Matheos has several other projects under his belt including Matheos, Arch and most recently Tuesday the Sky. Add to that his brand new band with vocalist Steve Overland of FM titled Kings of Mercia and it’s obvious that Steve has a lot of music to share with us, and lucky for fans that he does. Joined by long time bandmate Joey Vera of Fates Warning on the bass, and legendary drummer Simon Phillips (Judas Priest, Michael Schenker Group, Derek Sherinian) on the drums and you have a super talented lineup on the album.

A Natural Fit

In early 2021, Matheos started working on the songs that would become Kings Of Mercia’s self-titled debut album, bringing his distinct style yet doing something a little different. Matheos explains “I started writing without any real idea of what direction I wanted to go in or what I was going to do with the material. The first few songs came together quickly and were a bit more straightforward than I’m used to, and I really liked that idea, kind of going back to my early heavy/hard rock roots.” The next step was to find the perfect vocalist for the project, and after going through a list of 40+ singers, Matheos was finally able to hook up with FM’s Steve Overland. “We decided to try a collaboration on one song and see how it worked, we came up with the track “Humankind”, and we both loved it,” states Overland.

“We both wrote on our own, me completing songs instrumentally and then sending them to Steve who wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals on his own. But there was never a moment where he said, ‘I don’t really like this part, or that song’, and likewise there was never anything that he sent me where I thought, ‘Hmm, I’m not sure about that…’ Everything I sent to him he worked on as is and everything he sent back to me ended up being final vocals, first time around. So there wasn’t any of the usual ‘what if you try this instead?’ that I’m so used to. That was really refreshing.” Says Matheos.

Final Notes

The resulting album is a well produced number of tracks that sound very modern, yet also have a classic Hard Rock feel. Top tracks include “Wrecking Ball” with it’s catchy 7/8 timing reminiscent of Fates Warning, and “Set The World On Fire” with it’s cool riffs, sweet guitar solos and anthem style choruses. Drumming legend Simon Phillips as always plays exactly what’s needed to perfect each song, and Joey Vera’s bass lines are exactly what the Dr. ordered. All in all, a very strong debut album, and worth a listen for all fans of Hard Rock, Melodic Metal.

Kings of Mercia photo


Jim Matheos – guitars
Steve Overland – vocals
Simon Phillips – drums
Joey Vera – bass

Kings of Mercia – Tracklist

01 Wrecking Ball
02 Humankind
03 Sweet Revenge
04 Set the World on Fire
05 Too Far Gone
06 Liberate Me
07 Nowhere Man
08 Everyday Angels
09 Is It Right?
10 Your Life


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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