Mar 21, 2011
ALBUM REVIEW: BLESSED BY A BROKEN HEART – ‘PEDAL TO THE METAL’
Album review previously published on ANTENNA magazine website in 2008:
Blessed By A Broken Heart have managed to merge two styles of conflicting music so perfectly that you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. Dubbed ‘Haircore’ in certain circles, these Canadian’s have VCR’d the world of 80s pop rock into a mosh pit of hardcore and stompin’metal, and have come out the otherside with a surprisingly pleasurable jewel on offer.
But alas, it has been done before – just not in such an unadulterated fashion – with bands like Atreyu [slipping dedications to the 80’s ever since their famed Bon Jovi cover] and the sorely missed Still Remains who were perfecting the art of metalcore mixed with synthesizers before their untimely split.
But BBABH have taken the mantle, and taken it up a notch. A top notch indeed. Fans of the aforementioned bands will delight in the vocal similarities of growling versus melody, and with a dash of Fall Out Boy’s chart friendly sensibilities in the choruses you end up with a pop metal machine firing on all cylinders. But there’s more. Much more.
The songs on offer here come out the speakers with a rushed vibrancy of hardcore beat-downs and enormous chanting choruses not unlike that of Motley Crue in their prime. A synthesiser will rear it’s ugly head instantly reminding you of Europe, Van Halen and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack, and just as you appreciate what may or may not be a parody of 20 years ago, you’re hit upside the skull with a blistering barrage of fret melting mastery and growling vocals that brings these boys thundering back into 2008 with a pool party atmosphere that you wish you could get in on. Doing It and Move Your Body are benchmark songs that sum this vibe up, and the vibe here is party metal. They live and dress like it’s 1985 and Bonnie Tyler is still reasonably hot.
Clearly there’s no connection on an emotional level here, and plenty of people in devout metal circles will grimace about the overuse of synths, cheesy lyrics, and spontaneous electronic drumming [see Billy Idol’s White Wedding for perfected use of this], but it’s been created with a lot of thought. These guys can play well and that’s the difference. It’s not parody or pastiche. It’s a bunch of young upstarts with a great idea on their hands, and they’re complimenting themselves with an appreciation of a decade that works very well. An 80s revival isn’t the way forward – and most bands get it completely wrong ripping off former idols and trying to be the next Sunset Strip phenomenon – but picking upon the epitome of sounds and imagery that depict an exuberant era is a perfect device. Life isn’t always doom and gloom, and the party starts here on Pedal To The Metal.
Gary Sutherland © 2008.