Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Beautiful things are often borne of angst and tragedy; from the darkened environs those with inner strength and a purity of soul will overcome that which challenges them.
Herein lies a telling of pain and the closing of one door to begin the transition towards the burning flame of justice. The enveloping chrysalis of anguish and torment has been cast aside and the luminous butterfly of pulchritudinous umbra stretches its wings and ascends unshackled.
Beth explains the overall concept “Our lives become a collection of stories. Over time these stories become our mythology, we tell them time and again knowing the laughter or sorrow they will cause.”
Coming nearly four years after their much-lauded sophomore long-player ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ this is a hugely welcome and longingly anticipated third album; wider and broader than that before. Listen attentively and one will garner an insight upon the chronicles that bear the adversities encountered. This is the roaring triumph from the chaotic abyssal maelstrom.
“This album” Beth continues “is a confessional, a journey of survival, of tragedy. Our darkest moments exist, they deserve not to be hidden, sharing the pain helps with the burdens we all carry. It’s also a tale of love and hope, of taking our hardship and thriving despite the weight of our woes.”
The trademark licks, riffage and beats that one associates with Beth Blade and her musical brethren are all there but there is assertation of maturity firmly in the melting pot.
That which comes through the unravelling of time; only ever in antecedental progression. The beauty of life in lucent stained-glass form; vivid shades of colour break through the crepuscule uniformity in electrifying form. A cathartic release in mellifluous form.
Concluding Beth adds “You can be your own light. I am sharing my soul with you through these songs, each one a small piece of me, a piece of us, of our story. Confiding in you is redemption.”
Recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios – with producer Nick Brine (Bruce Springsteen, Thunder, The Darkness) at the helm – this redemption takes to the tracks with ‘The Otherside.’ Ushered in with whispered tones and a rumbling dark riff – think Sabbath crossed with Kiss – it’s readily apparent that the current, most settled, line-up of Beth’s musical companions are no mood to mess about.
Long term drummer Sam Brain, who has been pounding the skins since the formation of the Beautiful Disasters, delivers a furious beat chockful of truculence whilst the most recent addition to the ranks, bassist Dan Rowe, roams about the low frequency range with aplomb.
Six-string slinger Luke Strickland Gilmore shreds a mighty fine fret that entwines about Beth’s bridging rhythms. A defining balance has become encompassing rich poetic lines with majestic mythology with this deeply personal purview.
The first single lifted from this album, and now a firm live favourite and surely one of the first upon the setlist, ‘Sin Eater’ traces across the obsidian vista as Beth vocally prowls with the intensity of Lzzy Hale and all the attitude of Joan Jett. The raptor seeks its prey; a carnivorous passion that its hooked beak will sink into. The ritualistic meal is consumed to rid the deceased of their sins, absolution of the soul.
Bouncing with abandonment ‘Tonight I’m With You’ relates of elated times shared in throes of ecstasy. There are touches of Beth’s childhood idol Avril Lavigne in the vocal output; something that vibrantly blossoms in ‘Who You Are.’
A rousing rally cry for those whose individuality doesn’t conform to the expected stereotype. Speaking in a recent interview with Lotty Whittingham from Rock Out Stand Out website (well worth checking out, it’s a cracking read) Beth disclosed “When I was at school, I got bullied so much for being weird, ginger and walking around singing songs in the playground.
There’s a friend of mine in the States and his daughter is that age in high school, the people at her school are making her feel like she is strange and different, like it’s a bad thing. I was like “you know what? I want to write a song for little Beth, but I also want to write a song for all those girls who had different interests.” Adding further “For me, it’s the song. F*** what they say, you’re doing it your way and I feel like that people need to hear that it’s OK to be your own authentic self regardless of what anyone else says.”
Swirling early morning mist swirls across the still waters as ethereal acoustic ballad ‘Hold Your Heart’ grabs your very heart. There’s a gothic folk edge here that strikes an All About Eve chord with me personally. Building up it never once loses its emotional dynamic.
Barrelling in with a triple measure of vodka-fuelled mischief ‘Undo Me’ takes all that was good about the first two albums and thoroughly reworks matters into a current beating heart. Prior to, rising from the realms of the Underworld, ‘Persephone’ escapes the betraying clutches of that which proclaimed false love. The daughter of Zeus and Demeter brings new deep rocking life to lands once barren. A ghostly guardian spirit is industriously employed herein, overseeing the cycle of death and re-birth.
Brought in with an intro Osbourne, Iommi, Butler and Ward would have been justly proud of ‘Ozymandias’ transports the listener into the environs of poet Shelley. Snarling and spitting venom Beth scathingly questions the value of power and control. “Every dollar you made dug your grave.” So, nothing remains of the kingdom created to be found other than sands lone and level.
Think of sultry vocals; think of Evanescence’s Amy Lee and All About Eve’s Julianne Regan atop a glorious rocking emotive and you’re heading in the direction of the wondrous, brooding ‘Sacrifice.’
With an incendiary six-string circular hook ‘Trigger Warning’ melds the melodious strains of Heart with the glam of Kiss ordering those in earshot to “proceed with caution.” Personally, I have careered headlong into this sumptuous offering with a chaotic Brownian motion permitting the emotions to wrap themselves around.
‘Still Not Asking For It’ brings the album to a frenetic finale; with a high-speed riffing underpinning this is quite unlike anything the band has recorded thus far and it’s a true demonstration of the lack of willing to conform to defined boundaries.
If these eleven tracks are not enough then there are two bonus tracks on the CD version of this fine, fine long-player the soaring balladlike ‘I Never Knew’ along with the highly contagious rocking ‘New York Time.’
2022 has been a year of much to smile about in the world of rock and Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disasters have widened that smile tenfold with this stunning collection. Listen, absorb, and reflect; this is soul-baring rock in all its finery. Find the joy within, connect with the depth of feeling for this is destined to be at the very pinnacle.
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