HEAVENS BASEMENT – ‘Filthy Empire’

heavensbasementHEAVENS BASEMENT – ‘Filthy Empire’
What does Nickleback do with too little irony and The Darkness with too much irony?  Goddamn heart-stopping rock, that’s what!  Filthy Empire is Heavens Basement’s first studio album following two EP’s in 08 and 11 and from the moment it starts, you know they’re here to rock the shit out of your ears.  Don’t underestimate this seemingly flippant (and unnecessarily rude) comment either because, I don’t know about you but I’ve been missing some simple, honest-to-goddam Rock in my life.  I was in a taxi the other day and Nickleback came on the radio and before l knew what was happening, l was singing along.  In some circles that is punishable with a swift kick in the dangly parts.  The insight I now take from it is that despite all our genres and sub-genres, i think what many of us still secretly desire is good old fashioned Rawwwk.  Well want no more my fellow Headwarmer’s because Filthy Empire is here to fulfill that desire, in a way you wont need to hide.  Opener ‘Welcome Home’ smacks you upside the chops with all the swagger of classic hair metal bands of the 80s, minus the cringe factor. Which is exactly what makes Filthy Empire such a good listen because from start to finish, it hits almost every rock cliché (which i will explain), but instead of sucking, it feels like a homage to the rock legends that came before them.  You have all your staples here – your confident galloping tracks like ‘Welcome Home’ (with obligatory references to angels and hell) and ‘Cant Let Go’.  For sneering rough-and-ready there’s the soaring anthemic choruses full of swears on ‘I Am Electric’ and ‘When the Lights Go Out in London’.  Fancy some sleaze?  Just snap straight to the hilariously titled ‘Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch’ (I dare you not to sing along to the Jack Black-esque “cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-come on”) or ‘Jump Back’.  Then you’ve got your ballads, such as ‘The Price We Pay’ – full of feelings and junk for that mix tape for your significant other.  The only low point is ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ – its not that its a bad track, it just slips a little too far into cliche territory. Balladry aside, this is a masterclass in classic rock with more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box and with vocalist Aaron Buchanan having only joined the band in February 2011, he does a great job of swinging ably between a roar, a screech and a croon; throwing in enough swears to deliver appropriate menace when needed.  Musically everything is well placed and always the right side of satisfyingly extravagant without being annoyingly excessive, so I’m going to give this album a scintillating 9 out of 10.  Which means you should buy it, close the curtains and sing your lungs out while playing air guitar – i promise not to tell anyone.  (9)
CHRIS BIDAD

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