Sound — 8
I've been a fan of Wes Borland since the Limp Bizkit days. I know, some dirty words there, but even though the rest of the band was just 'good' and Fred Durst was awful, Wes always stood out as a creative and talented guitarist. After he left the band, they fell apart and he fell off the face of the Earth for a few years (working on a few things here and there, nothing too high profile). Then I heard about Black Light Burns, heard a few tracks from Cruel Melody (later bought the album) and I fell in love with BLB and now I follow them very closely. Now, we have a new release from Black Light Burns, Cover Your Heart and The Anvil Pants Odyssey, a CD/DVD combo. Cover Your Heart includes 10 covers and 7 instrumentals. Anvil Pants includes an hour and forty minute tour documentary, making of the "Lie" music video as well as the music videos for "Mesopotamia," "4 Walls," and of course "Lie." Cover Your Heart's first 10 tracks are covers of artists that vary across the board much like the quality of the songs themselves. Most are just random noise and screaming and some are some pretty cool and interesting interpretations. However, I did enjoy the instrumental tracks that round up the last 7 tracks on the CD. But, hearing them all in a row can be a little tiring because them are pretty mellow for the most part. The real heart of this release lies within the DVD. I loved every second of the documentary. It was utterly hilarious from start to finish and I didn't mind the length at all. The Jackass-like antics of the band combined with the real life trails of touring with a new band overshadows CYH, in my opinion. The only thing it was lacking was actually performances. They showed the band playing on stage while playing the track from the album at certain points, which was a little disappointing, but still very entertaining to see the bands energy on stage. I think "energy" is a good word for all of CYH and Anvil Pants.
Lyrics — 8
Being the lyrics of someone else, I can't really judge them. Nor do I feel like interpreting the reasons why the band chose these songs. I can, however, judge Wes Borland's singing ability. He seems to have taken a different turn after Cruel Melody. Maybe just for the covers, or maybe he found his voice. Personally, I think he can do alot better then distorted wailing in half the songs. Combined with the fact that we really don't get much of much of Borland's guitar playing style this time, his aggressive, crunchy, rhythmic riffs nor his trance educing melodies drenched with delay. I suppose that's because of working within the confines of someone else's song, but seeing as most of them were dismantled versions of the original, I would think he could find room to fit more of his style. Or it might the other band members style coming out, which isn't a bad thing, but I'd rather have Wes' style be at the forefront. Mostly seems like banging on powerchords in lieu of actual "energy." They can do better. Well, I'll break it down by song just to keep it simple. Forkboy By Lard, A little annoying but tolerable. Alot of distorted wailing. So Alive By Love And Rockets, very similar to Forkboy, but I like this one better because I heard it before the CD came out, so this was before half the CD was comprised of wailing. Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran, a little too bright sounding. Wes' voice stands out more, but this song is a little too uplifting. Feels like they got their ideas crossed here. Lucretia My Reflection by Sisters Of Mercy, best cover on the album. I love this track. Very close to the original, but defiantly a great song. Rid Of Me by PJ Harvey, decent song. Very catchy. The Art Of Self Defense by The Jesus Lizard, I found this song to be a little annoying. It's the shortest cover, and that's for a good reason. Can't take too much of this one. On The Bound by Fiona Apple, about the same as Rid Of Me. Not as catchy. I Am The Sun by Swans, kinda boring. Droney quiet vocals, nothing interesting going on instrumentally. Blood Red Head On Fire by Big Dumb Face, same distorted wailing, but alot cooler. I like this song beyond logic for it's catchy chorus. Search And Destroy by Iggy & The Stooges, very fast punk song that Borland's voice works well for. Still, not one of my favs. Instrumentals have no vocals, obviously, but more of Borland's guitar style. Mostly the delay melodies. None of the crunchy rhythm work.
Overall Impression — 9
If you are a BLB fan looking for more Cruel Melody, then CYH may not be what you're looking for. Anvil Pants is. But, keep in mind, this is NOT a second album. This isn't even meant to be taken seriously. It's just here for fun. The band had fun making it so we should have fun listening to it. Anvil Pants is pure entertainment as well as an enlightening look into life on the road. Mostly humor sprinkled with little bits of sincerity, the only thing missing is actual audio from live performances. Altogether, it's worth the money. I paid $25 plus shipping for the CD/DVD and a BLB t-shirt but you can find this at Best Buy for $12 minus the shirt. Or, if you are as hardcore a Black Light Burns / Wes Borland fan as some crazy bastards, go all out for the $100 limited edition loaded with all sorts of goodies. See the bands site for details. I would have bought the limited edition, but I don't have the money at the moment. I say if you are a fan of the band and you have the money, you won't be disappointed.