Monthly Archives: February 2014

Julian Angel’s Beautiful Beast-Kicking Down the Barricades

jabb

There is this wave in Europe that features a revival of the 80’s Glam band. There are some very good ones and some very bad ones. Julian Angel’s Beautiful Beast from Germany is one of the higher regarded. As I’ve never listened to them before I had no idea what to expect. I was a little leery since this is only a three piece yet Mr. Angel felt the need to put his name in the band name anyway. Maybe he’s just trying to be the Tyler Perry of Germany. Then there’s the album cover for Kicking Down The Barricades. I know I’m not a great writer but even if I was Stephen King I could not do it justice. Basically it looks like a 10th Grade metalhead designed an album cover.

 

In 1987.

 

To say it’s ridiculous would be an understatement. What’s worse is that this is a trend for European metal acts. I think it’s an attempt to look retro but it just looks cheesy and embarrassing.

 

Now for the actual music on Kick Down The Barricade, you start off with “Bad Boys Never Dance” and you run into another hurdle. Lyrically the album is very stilted and you wonder if there is a language barrier or they’re trying to be authentic to the era. Either way it’s grating at times.

 

Julian Angel is the vocalist and guitarist of the band. His voice has an unusual and scratchy quality that takes a bit of getting use to. The harmonies are top notch too. Now his guitar playing is very exceptional. The soloing is top notch and fits each song perfectly.

 

“Unsexy” is an extremely catchy song with a hooky chorus that could have been in regular rotation on Headbanger’s Ball. Same can be said of “Big Stuff” with it’s Warrant inspired verses and big choruses. “Shake Me Back Home” is very reminiscent of Junkyard’s “Simple Man” but still has a certain charm to it. The album ends nicely with a a dirty slinky number in “Six In The Red”.

 

When I first listened to Kick Down The Barricades I thought it was a demos from the 80’s that had been re-released. With the cover, lyrics, sound, it comes across as a bit dated. Maybe it’s the innocence and sincerity that help you overlook the rough patches and you appreciate the earnestness and honesty of Julian Angel. In the end you go from a mocking position to one of understanding.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Truckfighters-Universe

TF

 

Truckfighters have been one of those bands I read about but not checked out. With the release of Universe I was able to change that. They are usually referred to as a Stoner band or Desert Rock, with there obvious influence of Kyuss. After hearing the first two tracks, “Mind Control” and “The Chairman”, I would have to agree. They have guitars that are fuzzier than a closet full of cashmere and cause the listener to head bang without though. One big difference is that the bass plays a much bigger role than their contemporaries. It carries the main riff and has several moments of flair.

After that, the band takes a bit of a turn.

The fuzz gets dialed back a bit and what is left is a somewhat heavy, gloomy metal band. Just like a less pretentious version of Tool. If you ever heard of the Boston act We’re All Gonna Die. It’s very similar. In fact I was sure this was them after a name change. Oops, since Truckfighters are Swedish.

“Convention” is more straight ahead and should have been on the new Queens of The Stone Age album. “Get Lifted” is the Tool sound I referenced just with a lot more distortion and the vocals dialed back. The band finishes it off with the 13-minute “Mastadont”. I don’t know if this is a dig at Mastadon or not. Maybe the length of the song is a nod of influence. It starts of slow and hypnotically until about halfway. Then is kicks in, but just for a minute. It’s like they needed a breath before hammering it home one more. The song slowly winds down until it fades out with some tasty acoustic guitars. It’s a real tour de force from these guys. One last kudo for Universe is that it is only 7 songs. While that may sound short, 3 of the songs are over 7 minutes. Plus I would rather have 7 good and interesting songs than 7 good ones and 3 more that are just fillers.

You might want to call Truckfighters the thinking man’s Stoner band. Except that’s a stupid moniker. I do feel the Tool comparisons are valid though. I do feel kind of bad for not listening to this band before. Do yourself a favor and don’t be like me, several reasons for that actually. Just go buy this.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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