Sound — 7
Wes Borland continues to musically go in quite a distinct direction from his days as the guitarist in Limp Bizkit. His current endeavor, Black Light Burns, takes it core sound from industrial rock, so I eagerly anticipated hearing his takes on such classics as Hungry Like The Wolf, Search And Destroy, and So Alive on the new album Cover Your Heart. It's a hit and miss album, but you'd be hard pressed to find a song that doesn't capture your attention in some way. The 17-track CD is comprised primarily of covers (9 to be exact), with the remaining 8 tracks being leftover B-sides, rarities, and remixes from Black Light Burns. There are plenty of bands out there that stay true to an original song, with only a few tweaks here and there. Pretty much every track on Cover Your Heart takes a completely different approach to what we've heard before. Love And Rockets' So Alive is a laid-back, sultry alternative tune, while Borland injects industrial attitude into every measure. It's quite a noisy take in comparison with the original, and it's jolting at the very least. It's likely that Cover Your Heart will evoke quite a few different opinions because there were some bold moves made. A song like Forkboy (Lard) actually feels somewhat similar to the skater energy of the original, but Borland takes everything up a notch. The vocals are downright spastic, and as crazy as they do get, they certainly get your attention. At the other side of the spectrum is Hungry Like The Wolf (Duran Duran), which is one of the most sedate covers on the album. The emphasis is on the synthesizer and cleaner vocals, and in the end it does come up a bit short. Borland took the opportunity to cover a song that he already has recorded in the side project Big Dumb Face. The introduction of Blood Red Head On Fire features the use of a theremin, which makes the song sound like it's coming straight from a 1950s horror flick. That first minute or so does keep things fresh, although the vocal section does feel somewhat similar to Big Dumb Face's original. It's still a pretty spastically cool song in the vein of Fantomas. The entire last half of the playlist is a very different album. Rather than making everything sound as clangy, hard, and industrial as possible, Black Light Burns go for a mellower, atmospheric vibe. With pretty much all of them being instrumentals (and synth is the guiding force), it creates a very different experience. At times they have a tendency to go on a bit long (the closer Giving In Again, is one example), it's obvious these songs are here to set a mood and create a cinematic feel.
Lyrics — 9
Basically all of the lyrics on Cover Your Heart are the product of other artists, so it's a bit unfair to even grade this category. Black Light Burns does deserve credit for taking on so many different subject matters in the course of one album, however. There are a few tracks devoted to love, some about aggression, and everything in between.
Overall Impression — 7
While it's always great to hear an artist's take on the classics, Cover Your Heart doesn't always succeed in its ventures. It is cool to hear Borland's take on PJ Harvey or Fiona Apple in any case, and there are some great tracks throughout like Forkboy, Lucretia My Reflection, and I am The Sun. There are a few times when things just seem more chaotic than musically cohesive, and those are the moments that things go downhill a bit. It is cool that Borland added in so many original instrumentals in the last half, and those actually show Black Light Burns' diversity more than any of the covers.