Reviews roundup – Anastacia vs. Black Label Society vs. Cold Red Mute
The last album from Anastacia, the covers set “It’s A Man’s World”, disappeared without trace after she cancelled her tour due to her second breast cancer diagnosis. Hence, the title of this new one, “Resurrection”.
Oddly enough, this is getting trailed as a return to her early “Not That Kind” / “Freak of Nature” sound, when it’s nothing of the sort. They were frothy pop / soul hybrids aimed at the dance floor, something she actually returned to on “Heavy Rotation” in 2008. This, however, is close kin to her self titled third album from 2004. You know, the ‘Heavy On My Heart’, ‘Left Outside Alone’ one.
So what you get here is a fairly dark album, largely centred in mid tempo pop rock, with a couple of ballads thrown in for good measure. The one exception is the single ‘Stupid Little Things’ which sees her reuniting with Louis Biancaniello, who co-wrote on her first two records. It’s a song which might fool a few into thinking it’s all like that, but it’s not.
Which isn’t to say this isn’t a good record. Far from it. In fact, the big ballad ‘I Don’t Want To Be the One’ had the unfortunate effect of making me shed tears on the bus into work. Damn it. But then I’m getting on a bit, and have reached the age where death is all around me, so the fell of the album hits a bit close to home.
Don’t come here if you’re looking for an easy listen, but it’s good to have her back.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
So it’s not often that I come to Black Label Society looking for some light relief, but post Anastacia, the opening riff of ‘Fields of Unforgiveness’ seems like a light in the black.
Album number nine from Zakk Wylde sees him continuing on his way back to the beginning, as he heads more and more into Pride & Glory territory. Of all the BLS albums, this one is closest in sound to “Hangover Music Vol. VI” from ten years back, but with fatter guitars. And it’s good. The one time that he gets angry is on ‘Heart of Darkness’, a rampaging beast that would have happily fitted on to the first two BLS albums.
Elsewhere, things are considerably more melodic, with the likes of ‘Angel Of Mercy’ and ””Scars’ just absolute peaches, which show what a good singer he’s become over the years. In places he’s treading on Corrosion Of Conformity / Crowbar territory, with his Skynyrd influences regularly on show, but he ends up showing his emotional side on the heartfelt ‘Shades of Gray’.
It’s a great album, with his maturing sound one to savour.
COLD RED MUTE
Finally, for today, we’re heading off to the mythical kingdom of Australia, to catch up with the oddly named Cold Red Mute.
They beganlife in the basement of brothers Christian and Josh Block, whose mixture of metal, stoner, punk and country blues found a likeminded soul in the form of bassist Joey Inturrisi. And so the magic began. Sometimes. To be fair, it’s their debut album, so the fact that their ambition outweighs the results is actually a good thing.
Considering their influences, they actually get a bit clever at times, with their arrangements and ideas. Something that can get in the way of the songs. But when they just kick out the jams as the do on the likes of ‘I’m Electric’ and ‘Kicked In The Head’, then it’s a mighty fine sound indeed.
If you’re looking for some raw Motorhead meets the White Stripes meets Kyuss, then give it a go.