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Saturday, July 13, 2013

CD-Review: BlackRain - "It Begins"

Did you ever heard from the French Glam/Sleaze rock band BlackRain? I wasn't familiar with these guys. Ok, I knew the cover artwork from their debut "License To Thrill", but I never gave them much attention - which was a big mistake! With their third album "It Begins" they really want to show the world what they are made of ... and I was really surprised - in a positive way.

The make it or break it album, the curse or the blessing of the third album - for many bands is such a record some kind of turning point in their career. BlackRain don't need to fear the future, because with their new effort they wipe the floor with the latest releases of Crashdiet or Hardcore Superstar. But it wouldn't be fair to put them only in this category, because "It Begins" shows much more variety with influences from so many rock bands.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the fact that "It Begins" was produced by Jack Douglas, who is known for his productions for Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick and John Lennon. Jack is a true veteran in musicbusiness and to get him on board says already that we've to deal here with high quality work. He isn't this type of guy, who produces each and everyone. The result sounds pretty awesome. Douglas put all his experience in the production of "It Begins". Everything is well crafted and mixed.
The next surprise was the fact that the band got a deal with the major label Columbia/Sony Music. This is very, very rare for this kind of music.

But what about the songs? They are all very catchy, sometimes harder, sometimes softer - you've a nice varied mix, which is always fun to listen to. Beautiful Beast singer Julian Angel said in my interview younger sleaze/glam bands don't think about good melodies anymore. They don't really understand what made Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, etc. so famous. Nowadays it's all about power chords and gang shouts and so on. BalckRain succeed the impossible - they know how to combine these new elements without leaving the melodies and guitar licks of the "good old days" behind. This album is the perfect symbiosis between the new wave of sleaze and the 80's melodic/glam rock. The opener "Blast Me Up" and "Bad Love Is Good" are very good examples for that. Something between Hardcore Superstar and Mötley Crüe - the perfect soundtrack for the next selaze party.
The first over the top hit comes with "Wild Wild Wild". Here you get the full dose of glam rock, topped by a damn catchy shout-it-out-loud-chorus.
"Death By Stereo" is another in your face rocker, but it isn't as good as the previous track.
With "Nobody But You" BlackRain dare to present a real power ballad in the typical 80's style and this one is a gem. I like the big 80's rock ballads very much and with this song they totally hit the spot.
Next track "Dancing On Fire" comes along with a chorus line, which could have been from the first CASANOVA-album. You remember Casanova? The German hard rock band from the early 90's. "Dancing On Fire" has this spirit in it.
"Young Blood" makes also everything right - great party anthem again. "Cryin Tonight" surprises again with its 70's glam sound, which was definitely influenced by THE SWEET. This one just makes me feel good, a trip back in time.
"Re-Evolution - New Generation" is something for all CRASHDIET fans. Could have been on their great album "Generation Wild". "Tell Me" is another high voltage track, which makes you sing along for a long time.

If I have to criticize something then it's one thing: the very easy songwriting. Song structures are very save and the lyrics are also a very flat. A bit more substance would be great. Shouts like "Hey", "Whoooho" and so on are present on every second song, sometimes it felt like "Why using lyrics? Let's fill it up with hey, hey, ho." and the last song "Ho Hey Hey Hey" proves that and is definitely too much of a good thing. Here you see how uninspired BlackRain can be. Man, this got on my nerves. Anyway, on stage could this be funny.

Speaking about the band itself: they sound very tight. I was really satisfyed with the guitar solos and the powerful rythm section. I just had to get used to the voice of singer "Swan", but his voice is typical for sleaze/glam rock bands.

Yeah, what can I say more? BlackRain shows every band of the "new wave of sleaze" how it's done! They come along with the typical aggressive updated sound, but they don't forget where this music came from. That means they also concentrate on nice melodies and hooks, which were present in the 80's, when this glam rock sound was coined by Ratt, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Guns'n'Roses and so on. "It Begins" is a tribute to all of them without sounding outdated. It also makes fans of Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstar or Crazy Lixx very happy. There is just one thing I can say: Buy it! Every fan of sleaze, glam, hard rock or melodic rock should give this a listen and I really hope "it begins" a new era for BlackRain now.



01. Blast Me Up
02. Bad Love Is Good
03. Wild Wild Wild *
04. Death By Stereo
05. Nobody But You *
06. Dancing On Fire
07. Young Blood *
08. Cryin' Tonight *
09. Re-Evolution - New Generation
10. Tell Me
11. Ho Hey Hey Hey Hey

* best tracks

1 comment:

  1. I don't agree with all the points you made, but I must admit - it's a great one, this Begins album.
    Even considering the influences. As it'd been mentioned - most of the sleaze bands nowadays sell crap because the copy can never exceed the original,a nd most of those guys know only the most popular 80's stuff. if you ask most of the artists from the 80's themselves - they'd tell you they're influenced by much more and varied bands/artists/genres from the 50s onwards. Now, this explains why they were/are so cool and why most of the sleaze nowadays is just crap. These kids (who're on average still older than me :3) think they'll backcomb their hair, wear some guyliner and they already are fab rockstars, while they're obv not. Fortunately the BRain isn't one of such :) A great producer is one thing. but hey, man, you can't get water out of a stone either, right? :)
    So, anyway, it's nice to know that there still are some glam/sleaze bands which still put more emphasis on the music itself. And, hey - vocals - yep, typical but... not something you'd totally forget. Each of these songs is something that you'll remember (not saying that I like each of them, but the vast majority tho:). Even the 'Hey hey ho' one. It's cleary for the stage and not for the studio. Consider the Hanoi - their live shows were always better as well. So, the song is to have a super-easy chorus thing... Flat lyrics? Uhm, it's the genre. Still - more ambitious than many other of the kind. Imo they're rather amusing so it's okay:)
    Also, talking of the inspirations - I have this thing with the Blackrain in general, that to me they're like the Pretty boy floyd only twenty years later (the latter were also 'consciously' influenced by the Motley, so maybe that's why. Have you heard their earliest heavy-heavy-styled tracks? The newest album finally feels like they actually truly and totally enjoy what they're doing and they're true in it;) Even if it's not true - I still like it a lot.