"The Apocalypse Blues Review" Album Review by Kenny Dubman
When I was asked to review this album, my knee-jerk reaction was "sure, it'll be fun!" Then once Ryan sent it to me, it quickly turned to "oh shit, I have to review an album by a band that has 2 members from Godsmack in the lineup....what if they're not happy with what I write? Do they send a couple guys from the Rock Royalty Mafia to fuck me up?" But then I took a Xanax, put on the album, and all became right with the world. Because it kicks fucking ass, it’s a dark, modern take on traditional blues that's interesting and thoroughly enjoyable.
The first thing you'll notice is that Ray Cerbone on vocals is a modern day Jim Morrison. That said; let's dig in, shall we? The record kicks off with "Evil Is As Evil Does", a foot-tapping Chicago shuffle that opens with a ripping rhythm-pickup Strat tone lead. This is definitely the catchiest hook on the album and I can see why it's the leadoff track; it's immediately infectious. "What is wrong, what is right, will she suck or will she bite" is a lyric that totally cracked me up.
"Junkie Hell" is a balls-out; low-down, heavy, swampy blues who's musical feel matches the subject matter. Tony Rombola again lets the Strat rip over the intro. Having lost both my Grandmas to heroin overdoses, I can relate to this topic. Kidding, they actually OD'd on chicken soup. "Man, she was the queen of the prom, now she's....just a crack whore"....hahaha holy shit, love that line!
"Devil Plays a Strat" is an awesome slow groove that speaks of the first Sabbath album. This tune is probably my favorite on the album, the story of good versus the devil in a guitar duel ala the Crossroads movie. Hey guys, the devil could also play an SG, no? Anyway, nobody's going to take you in a guitar duel when you're armed with a '59 sunburst Les Paul...just not possible. Stunning wah solo by Rombola!!
"I Think Not" opens with a very traditional feel and stays in that vein lyrically as well with the tale of an evil woman. Not sure if this is a true life tale, but it sure seems like it. If you've been through some shit with an ex, you're going to write about it for sure....and I'm no exception to that, it's a very liberating form of emotional exorcism.
"Whiskey In My Coffee" is a Brian Setzer meets "True Blood" theme ripper that makes me wanna slick back my remaining hair and drive as fast as possible in my black convertible '65 Chevelle to the nearest dive bar, if I had a '65 Chevelle. This song is a perfect way to start any hung over day!
"The Tower" is a Robin Trower-like slow grinder...not bluesy at all, very cool and very dark. When I heard the intro lead I thought "that's not Tony Rombola playing here"....by the time the second lead came around I knew it was Joe Bonamassa making a guest appearance, doing his best Trower-Eric Johnson laced destruction over the Larkin/Carpenter concrete foundation, even do a "Bridge Of Sighs" homage over the last chorus, it’s a very, very cool track, also one of my faves.
"Crossed Over" seems like a tune about relationship-caused suicide...either that, or into insanity or turning gay....not that there's anything wrong with that! However you wanna perceive what "the other side" may be in these lyrics, I think we've all been there at one time or another and can certainly relate.
"Blues Are Fallin' From The Sky" that kicks in with a Chicago shuffle in a 7 time signature in the verse, which is a really cool change up at this point in the record, totally un-expected. When this song breaks down into a super slow grind, it will take you immediately into a smoky Chicago bar during the sixties. Close your eyes and picture a young Buddy Guy in a suit and skinny tie...love the clean Strat tone here as well as the pained lyrics, these is the real shit here, man.
"Work In Progress" kicks your ass right from the start with a Hendrix/Trower/Frank Marino groove. Kick ass funky grooves in the verse give way to a great wah line post-chorus. Shannon Larkin's drum breaks on this song are just blistering, followed by some Sheehan-like bass fireworks by Brian Carpenter...this whole little instrumental passage is great. Another one of my favorite songs on this collection!
"The Devil In Me" is an absolute first class heavy metal riff that could be found on Master Of Reality or Volume IV.....and if you don't know those records, go back to metal school. I totally love the message on this song because it fits me to the T....I used to worry about every fucking little thing, and I finally realized that I was wasting my life. Enjoy life's little moments and live in the moment, because you never know what's around the corner. Life is meant to enjoy....so ENJOY IT.
"Blues Cross" starts with an acoustic riff that's so cool that I wish that I had written it....there, I said it. It's very creative with an awesome laid back vibe and feel. The songs builds as the whole band kicks in, then goes into one of the few solos played on the guitar's lead pickup. The intentional avoidance on most of this record makes this tone really stand out when Rombola decides to unleash it.
Unfortunately I didn't get to hear the bonus track, "Music's Over", because my editor was breaking my balls to meet the publishing deadline. This is a kick-ass record that departs from what is normally accepted on modern rock radio, and I applaud these guys for making it. Check this one out folks, you will love it!!
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