Sound — 9
First off, Black Light Burns is one of the few truly impressive bands out there today. Wes Borland, the former guitar geinous of Limp Bizkit, is the main creative force behind this band, and his multi-instrumentalist flare comes through in a very coheisive way in this band. He is such a brilliantly dominating force that he can completely change lineups between this cover song album and their first Album, Cruel Melody, and still have it work and make sense. Anywho, this album protrays a more aggressive/rock experimental punk side of BLB instead of the raging, dense, experimental alternative goth side of them that their debut album Cruel Melody was. Wes was in a very dark headspace on the first album due to things that were going on with him behind the scenes, that according to things he has said in interviews since, have since nearly resolved themselves. So, as a result, this album is a LOT more lively and upbeat, and most if not all these covers are absolutely rip roaring renditions of the orignals. The best example of this is the cover of So Alive by Love and Rockets, the second track on here. The original is a very laid back, mellow but still dancey song. Black Light Burns took it, and made it more like if The Aphex Twin's music was played on instruments instead of programming and keyboards, ending with a gigantic furious riff. This cover also keeps nothing except the lyrics of the original, so in essence, it is a brand new song from Black Light Burns. This, for me, is the highlight of the CD. There are plenty of other awesome moments too. The '70s psychadelic meets bizzare death punk rendition of Blood Red Head on Fire by Big Dumb Face is so adrenalizing you can't sit still for even a second listening to it. The cover of Lucretia My Reflection by Sisters of Mercy is very layered, making use of several guitars, lots of keyboards, and even Borland doing multiple vocal overdubs to add layers with his voice too. BLB's cover of On the Bound by Fiano Apple is very very twisted and bizzare. I've never done drugs or drank or any of that, but I would imagine that the cover of On The Bound is equal to doing acid and going to a circus. Also, the insturmentals at the end showcase a completely different side to BLB that the covers show. They are very, very realxed and mellow, and Borland wrote them during his "dark ages" of Cruel Melody, so they have a very sad feel about them. This is best exemplified on Drowning Together and Dying Alone. It uses the final riff from "Animal" on Cruel Melody and creates a very sad feeling of slow descent. Giving In Again maintains that feel, but is all keyboards, as opposed to DTaDA which has full band insturmentation along with the dominating keyboards and guitars. Wes as a vocalist started out great, but has also grown by leaps and bounds after the year or so of touring he put into the Cruel Melody tours. I saw them live on one of their headlining dates and remember thinking "he sounds great on the CD but he sounds absolutely fanastic live", and he put those vocal skill to great use on this CD. He has a very fresh and exciting loose cannon thing to him that I don't see in any other band today. The guitar playing is SO diverse and lush, I just melt hearing some of the guitar sounds on this CD. The bass playing is really cool and sometimes it can drive the song (like on the drum n bass metal version of So Alive) or it can just pound out a nice groove like on the cover of PJ Harvey's Rid of Me. The drums are SO ridiculously good, Marshall Kilpatric just blows everyone away. His approach to drums are very tasteful, and reminds me of a LOT of awesome drummers, especially Zach Hill from Hella with is lo fi but ridiculously high energy approach.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics were all done by different artistist, seeing as this is a covers album! Borland takes his own vocal skills and twists the songs to his benefit. I know someone is going to say "hey, isn't he rapping on the second verse to the cover of On the Bound"?, but if you listen to the original, he has to sing it that way in order to keep up with the quickened tempo of BLB's cover. And no, it isn't rapped, it's still sung. Wes is a very awesome vocalist, both on record and live. Not much else to it.
Overall Impression — 9
This is such an awesome and enjoyable CD. I hate how people are calling this "industrial", this is such a guitar-ed out CD, with only little touches of keyboards on a handful of songs (and the insturmentals at the end). When times are tough, I hit these instrmentals up in order to go to the very bottom of the "end of the world" rabbit hole, cause sometimes you need to make yourself morbidly sad, and these songs will do the trick. They're absolutely brillaint. but long story short, BLB is defintiely a one of a kind band. They've already established themsvels as one of the three bands within rock you need to keep an eye on, and this covers album furthers them in that field. Such a unique sound. Wes is the most criminally underrated artist in music, because people are all "Oh he palyed in limp bizkit I'm stupid and I'm not gonna give him a chance", but seriously, if you are one of those, you are probably an emo/metalcore fool! Wes is one of those guys who where you can tell if someone's really into music or not based on what they say about him, and I am proud to call myself a fan of such an amazing, amazing artist.