Apocalypse Blues Revue

Posted on 3 September 2016
By Chris High
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Traditional would arguably be the best way to describe Apocalypse Blues Revue’s eponymous debut album. The problem is that even at Christmas traditions wear a little thin after awhile.

With a promising start in the classic style rock riffing of Evil Is As Evil Does and on through to Junkie Hell – with its 6 minutes 25 seconds of pain, remorse and regret all mixed together with some of the most consummate musicianship you’re ever likely to experience – it is clear that these former members of the post grunge hard rock band, Godsmack, know what they’re doing.

The thing about the album as a whole, though, is that according to the publicity they were all intent on making something fun and evil and gritty. This in the waspish style of Bon Scott’s lyrics with a little bit of Aerosmith bravado thrown in for good measure.

If this were the intention, it misses by a country mile so that what transpires is – with the odd exception such as The Devil In Me, with its deeply forceful guitar work provided by Tony Rombola and the lyrical pleasure offered by I Think Not – something that becomes a bit of a chore to listen to.

A further problem are Rafer John Cerbone’s vocals. With its natural inclination to drive over on the Jim Morrison side of the freeway (take a listen to the ‘bonus track’ When The Music’s Over and see for yourself), after a while becomes a tad dull and laconic.

I guess it helps if you don’t think Morrison is one of the most over hyped singers of the twentieth century, but still. Imagine asking for a JD and Cola (yeah, I know, as if) only to receive cola … flat cola at that … with ice! Then find the bar has actually run out of JD, but neglected to tell you. That’s what you’re getting here. Fair enough this is the blues but, blimey, a bit of oomph wouldn’t come amiss.

This is particularly true on Whiskey In My Coffee, which has a melody that’s rich in objective yet held back by vocals that come pretty close to sounding as though they are being read rather than sung.

There are some sparks to enthuse about, but not enough of them; the irony being that Work In Progress is undoubtedly the stand out track of the album, with Shannon Larkin’s drums and Brian Carpenter’s bass finally being given room to breathe.

In all then the Apocalypse Blues Revue soiree away from grunge can be said to have been an interesting experiment. Who knows, too, perhaps in future the fusion of obvious talents comprising the band will combine in a suitably phosphorescent manner, so that’s what is produced is a beam of light in the darkness, rather than just so many flickering matches in a hurricane.

Apocalypse Blues Revue
Audio CD
26 Aug. 2016

1.Evil Is As Evil Does
2.Blues Are Fallin’ From The Sky
3.Devil Plays A Strat
4.I Think Not
5.Whiskey In My Coffee
6.The Tower
7.Crossed Over
8.Junkie Hell
9.Work In Progress
10.The Devil In Me
11.Blue Cross
12 When The Music’s Over (Bonus Track)


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