Black Light Burns

Cruel Melody

Written by: PP on 23/07/2007 02:16:04

Black Light Burns is supposedly the band where Wes Borland finally redeems himself from the shame and finger-pointing that resulted from being a part of Limp Bizkit. He's been out and about, participating in equally hopeless projects (he played a bit of bass for From First To Last), before hitting the table with his fist and shouting: "That's it. I'm going solo". Black Light Burns is the result of that decision, and contrary to the marketing hype that preceded all Limp Bizkit albums, very little has been heard about his band before the release of their debut album "Cruel Melody".

I guess Wes wanted to start from scratch and forget about his artistically unsuccessful past. And listening through the gloomy first track "Mesopotamia", you can tell that he has finally found his own calling, a band where he can realize his artistic aspirations in his own terms. As weird as it may sound from Wes, those aspirations seem to be geared towards the Trent Reznor industrial soundscapes. Listening through "Cruel Melody" is like wandering through a dark-wave gothic club somewhere deep in the heart of Germany. The atmosphere is ugly, dark and melancholic, and the term conventional has been binned and burnt before the writing for the album even commenced. The strange keyboard loops ooze rave-like energy while Wes' voice has been perfectly blended into the gothic atmosphere. The riffs are texturous and unpolished, leaving a lo-fi buzzing trail after them, which fits the atmosphere nicely. It's like Wes is giving the finger to preconceptions, and is writing music for himself to enjoy without regard to what other people think of it. It is then no surprise to find that the vast majority of the album is filled with avant-garde experimentalism, where different sound effects and samples take the spotlight instead of a memorable guitar riff. That being said though, a couple of songs like "Animal" and "Lie" have pretty catchy choruses, and, save for the excessive experimentalism, sound much better than anything Marilyn Manson has written in the past few years. There are even some jazzy parts such as on the title track, where the focus is on the 'perfect atmosphere', a trait that is often visible on various projects Maynard James Keenan has had his fingers on.

So if you're into Rammstein, Emigrate, Marilyn Manson and that sort of sound, you'll probably find Black Light Burns fits well into your collection. You will also find Wes' band to be the most complex and artistically rewarding of the bunch, which ultimately will end up being the stumbling stone for the band. The cornerstone of Rammstein's popularity is their pyro-effect dominated liveshow, Marilyn Manson sells by shock-value, and Nine Inch Nails' success is based on the untouchable genius of Mr Reznor. "Cruel Melody", on the other hand, is missing that one necessary trait that would make it appealing for the mainstream music buying public, because industrial rock's golden times have long come and gone.

Download: Animal, Lie
For the fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.06.2007
I AM: Wolfpack

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