17 February 2015

Calabrese - Lust For Sacrilege

This is an album we have been awaiting with bated breath, last year Luke reviewed 'Born With A Scorpion's Touch' (cleverly linked here) a little later than he would have wanted. But he was very complimentary about the album, it was also one that impressed me a lot as well.  So, both me and Luke have been looking for any trace of this being released and the first one to see it got to do the review - guess who won! (Luke, you can do the new Faith No More as a reward).  Anyway, Luke covered the main forming of the band in his last review so I will not go over that ground again.  For a quick recap, these three brothers are originally from Antioch, Illinois, but now come out of Phoenix, Arizona.  Since 2003 they have been ploughing their own path, creating their own distinct path and making their way around the world (they are soon to be touring the UK, a tour I will be attending).  I like it when a band ignores the rest of the world and keeps on with their own agenda and it is with that in mind that I start this review...

Starting with keys and haunting guitars "The Dark Is Who I Am" could have easily been used as a track for the film 'The Lost Boys' (for people that do not know, it is a vampire film from 1987 starring Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland and is awesome - fuck 'Twilight').  It is a moody and effective opening, full of a sense of drama and macabre sense of humour.  It is a really good slow dramatic build that peaks at the right point and gives way to "Down In Misery"; this starts with a storming riff, thunderous drums, pounding bass and just sounds like Armageddon is being unleashed onto the world.  Already at the start of the album it is showing a different less psychobilly, the punk/rock vibe is in full control and flies like bats in the night. "Teenage Crimewave" is more punk than "Down In Misery" and shares a few familiar traits with Volbeat; the rock 'n' roll vibe, the old school feel which a modern twist, the peddle to the floor speed out of the traps - all in all, it just keeps up the high-octane tempo that has started this album off and the swagger looks set to continue. 

"Flesh & Blood" slows it down slightly, but not in terms of drama.  The band just take it back in a few steps (which is a sensible move - never burn yourself too soon), it keeps it interesting and whilst it does not speed along like a demon running away from the creeping dawn, it does have a drive and passion that is sadly all too rare these days.  Next is the title track of the album - "Lust for Sacrilege"; with a steady build, it unleashes a tale of passion and horror, it is the biggest throw back to their previous work.  It is a dark song this one, it also has an slight 80's Alice Cooper vibe about it (which is never a bad thing in my book) and it makes for a fantastic hard rock/punk experience on this number.  "Wanted Man" follows on, which really slows the album down in its tracks; it sounds well played and the music is good, but it sort of stops the album down its tracks.  It might be a natural progression for the band, but it does not work for me at least.  "Serpentflame" is another slow brooding more hard rock focused number, it is better than wanted man and as before it is well played.  But it does not really fill me with that instant hit, it does not seem to have the passion that was evident on the first section of the album, but I will also say that it does grow with subsequent listens; so knowing my luck it will be my favourite track of the album in a few years’ time.

After this is the short, sharp, shock that is "Gimme War", it is over in just over a minute and a half and stomps its authority over the album, all out punk and a shouting anthem for the fans of the band that does not outstay its welcome.  This is then followed by "New York Ripper", now this is a much more interesting hard rock song from the brothers, it has a much more sinister edge and that just brings to mind the more gothic parts of A.F.I. and Danzig/Misfits.  You can really see the band showing (and paying tribute) to their influences on this song and it makes it a very tantalizing number from this album.  It is almost the song of the album, but that is not to say it is average; far from it - it is majestic in every way possible.  Penultimate track "Lord of the Wasteland" could have really suffered from following on after "New York Ripper", but it comes out with a swagger and shouting quality that will have any show moving once it gets started.  This is a flat out, peddle to the floor, punk rock song that will seem timeless in years to come - it is a really good song and leaves the album nice set for the final song - "Drift Into Dust" which starts off with an acoustic guitar and talks about death.  It was a little bit obvious to head towards this type of number at the end of the album, it is not how I would have liked to seen the album end; but it is well played once again and there is nothing wrong with the song per se, it is just an obvious ending for this album.

This album is a really good record in places, I love the A.F.I. feel to the record, that dark gothic/horror punk side of what they do is really appealing.  Also, they are starting to get a grip on their hard rock sound as well and it makes for a much more mature sound for the band (which has also improved with each subsequent album), they have just kept improving and this album overall continues that upwards trend.  I will be honest, there was that little lag in the middle sections and the ending track is just a bit too obvious for my tastes (which still being a well played song).  But these minor points do not distract from the fact this is a fantastic record that will continue the good work that has so far been done by this band and is another good record in their discography.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track - Down in Misery

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Calabrese website here

You can also follow Calabrese on their Facebook (which also has link to their other pages)

You can hear the album on Spotify here

Alternatively, here is a link for our Deezer users

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