The Apocalypse Blues Revue

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The Apocalypse Blues Revue

When a certain prominent one-time cock-rocker’s metal career was on the wane a couple of decades back, he decided to “return to the blues” a disappointment to many in its almost-disdainful treatment of what had been his original alma mater.

The Apocalypse Blues Revue’s route to their self-titled debut has been similar, but its story has a beautiful synchronicity, in that whilst jamming during recording Godsmack’s The Oracle, a Shannon Larkin percussive groove stimulated guitarist Tony Rombola’s blues nerve endings, and things took off.

Their shared heavy rock background is obvious, but never over-saturates the recording. A not-unexpected punk edge is ever-present, and, with blues structures and sensibilities the dominant forces, this is a brooding, swampy collection caked with menace and angst.

Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone’s Delta howl vocalises immaculately these dark sides of the blues. His delivery suggests that he is constantly monitoring his rear-view mirror for hellhounds, although in ‘Devil Plays A Strat’ he convinces us that the Antichrist can be found in a blues club rather than at the crossroads, lending a possible new angle on to the design of Leo’s twin-horned 6-string weapon of war.

The track listing, with evil, devils, drugs and whiskey-laced coffee referenced, gives a clear indication of the album’s tone and themes. Larkin’s thundering tom-toms, finely-judged Rombola rhythms and squalling licks, and sub-octave Brian Carpenter bass thunder, all expertly mixed by Dave Fortman, provide a suitably-dark canvas over which Cerbone articulates the agonies and trials of tortured lives. Most harrowing of all is ‘Junkie Hell’, an edgy slow shuffle, where a woman is lost “to the needle...the spoon...the dark side”, her sister, “queen of the prom, now...just a crack whore” as Rombola adds suitably-jagged, agonised blues accompaniment.

Date added: Jul 02, 2016

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