20 July 2018 (released)
21 July 2018
A couple of years back I heard the first album by The Apocalypse Blues Revue and it is fair to say that I was somewhat blown away by the music that the band made – heavy and dark Blues, bordering on metal which is no surprise considering the core of the band are part of Godsmack.
Shannon Larkin (drums) and Tony Rombola (guitar) are supplemented by Brian Carpenter on bass and frontman/vocalist Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone and the mixture is much as before except maybe a little heavier and darker.
Cerbone’s vocals are deep and powerful but he has an almost Morrison-like ability to sing with clarity and melody – a huge step above many of the screamers and critical in a band where the words actually drive the songs. Rombola is a superb guitarist, intense and emotive and his solos are a joy to listen to. The bass/drums combo deliver slabs of power and melodic bass – Larkin is a much better drummer than his work with Godsmack suggests.
I half-expected to find that the band had reverted to being a traditional rock band but the four have said that they are committed to Apocalypse Blues Revue as a band and not as a side-project and in bringing in Dave Fortman (Anthrax, Godsmack) as producer they have a guy who understands how to present their music without falling back on traditional Blues or metal.
The songs were written by the whole band but the lyrical content came from Larkin and he has said that while his lyrics are often spiritual in nature he wants the listener to apply their own meanings to them.
The standout tracks here are the mammoth ‘We Are One’ which has an eerie and howling solo from Rombola to bring you in to a mesmeric and ponderous deep progressive Blues – the dynamics and harshness of the number is a great slap to the heart of the listener – and ‘To Hell With You’ which has the feel of a serpentine wind and is actually a love song. Added to those are six songs that really don’t show a weakness and you get a terrific album.
The band make strong claims to be the shape of Blues to come but what they are is a superb heavy Blues band, very able and talented as you could wish for.