Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CD Review: BELFAST 6 PACK Bombshells and Bullet Bras

Bombshells and Bullet Bras
Who doesn’t Like Alice in Chains? Nobody. Right. Well if you like Alice in Chains you will be moderately pleased with this new effort from Belfast Six Pack. This Knoxville, Tennessee quartet can really throw down. Taking their name from an IRA torture method, Belfast Six Pack is an outfit that seems to always be ready for action. While they definitely have their own voice, a few of the songs on this release seem lifted from A&C in the late 80s. But delving in a little deeper there’s a bit more to this record than would first appear. The title of the new work “Bombshells and Bullet Bras” make you think it’s a sexy, feel good, metal groove ala Acid King. Even the cover art is a throwback to a simpler sexier time. However, much like a movie that baits and switches with a slick trailer and advertising campaign, this collection is not what I expected. Sure the heavy guitars and rich rhythm section lure you into a sense of groove, but cue the vocals and now we’re in a weird land. The track “Toxic Bliss” drew me in but then once the vocals started I was lost. What is this supposed to be? Now on “Pain Killer”, I’m really grooving, banging my head – ok so it’s not exactly what I expected but I can get into this – until once again – the quasi cookie monster/Gene Simmons fest harshed my metal mellow.
Ok – let me start all over - no preconceived notions. Is this a good album? I started jumping around the track list trying to find something I could connect with. The last track “Whisper for Eternity” has a Maiden/Avenged Sevenfold but smooth vibe. God, I love these guitars. Having thrown away my misconceptions I chilled a bit which helped me enjoy this track. And in the end, it made me feel like I wanted to put on my boots, drink a few cans and kick some ass. Vocalist Brandon Bane sounded more relaxed on this track, he wasn’t trying as hard. Someone passed him the one hitter and he took a nice lungful, and he and this track are the better for it.
With a new affection for the music and a clearer head, I pushed on to “Wampus Woods” (dumb name). Loved the drum opening, until again, the vocals kick in, “I’m the baddest mother fucker in the deep dark woods!” Really? Attempting to sound like a WWE participant threatening his opponent, Bane tears into this stomper. Love love love the guitars again… the effects are intense, clean but not too clean, and it drove right to the heart of me.
I love “Tattered Flag”! The chorus is a euphoric anthem and I really wanted to get in the pit with this one. I love a bit of jumping up and down in front of the stage. This is where Bane shines, I like these tracks because the vocals and the music seem to gel better, a much more cohesive formula.
Overall I can give this effort a solid 7 out of 10 bullet bras. These are great musicians, with decent songs and good ideas, all this band is missing is a through line. -Heather Dawson

Track list:
1. A Bomb A Nation
2. Pain Killer
3. Toxic Bliss
4. Dogs Of War
5. Boogeyman
6. Devil's Kut
7. Tattered Flag
8. Wampus Woods
9. Reaper Within
10. Whisper For Eternity

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