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It was my nephew who first introduced me to Billy Talent and after ribbing him with the snipe of Billy No Talentless or Billy Talentless I decided to put my resistance away and take a listen.
After reading a little more about the band, I have found out this is the bands third effort having been released in mid 2008. Having now heard the band a number of times, I can definitely say my reservations were incorrect, this is a very enjoyable album. The band's main strengths are the excellent guitarist who produces memorable guitar riff after guitar riff, the lead singer and song writer actually has quite an enjoyable voice although i can understand why some people would find his tones annoying.
The band seem to take influences from many bands including Pearl Jam, Nirvana to the Rolling Stones to the more recent Blink 182, sum 41. However what they do is mould these influences and make a sound which is their own.
If you hear no other song on this album be sure to hear the brilliantly powerful and tragic White Sparrows which recounts how the woman he was in love with was snatched away from him by death. The soft guitar riff is the perfect backdrop for his story to begin, the lyrics are excellent and the hook is haunting.
Other standouts from the album include the fast paced punk esque Tears Into Wine and the lead hit Devil On My Shoulder. The album can be described as punk meets rock in a fusion which seeks to remain honest but accessible to.
The band like to tackle issues including poverty, greed, the loss of loved ones and it's this mix which gives real value to the album. The songs have a healthy dose of energy in them without becoming fatiguing to listen to. It is of course not without it's slip ups, with the last 2 songs in particular tailing off the momentum of the album. However these are not bad songs either and arguably there is no genuine filler here.
I am going to award this album 5 stars because it is extremely consistent and not many albums can boast of that.
A great punk album, a large improvement from the last album, with great guitar riffs and fantastic drumming
1. Devil On My Shoulder
A great way to start the album, with a great rock guitar riff, followed by good drumming and average vocals. The singer of Billy Talent is nothing special, I don't particularly like his voice, but some people may.
2. Rusted From The Rain
Maybe the most popular song to most people, but not for me. It's a pretty good song, but not my favourite by any means. It's quite a slow intro, and the riff isn't brilliant. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just not as good as some of the other songs on the album, like the next one
3. Saint Veronika
The best song so far, beginning with fast guitar, then brilliant drumming. This song suits the singer much more than the previous two, but it's still not the best song, but it's pretty close. The instrumental bits of this song are the best thing about it, because again the vocals are a little annoying
4. Tears Into Wine
This could be my favourite song. A fantastic riff, and brilliant drumming, followed by vocals sounding similar to that of "Red Flag" and "Fallen Leaves", the best songs by the singer. The high notes are the best in this song. The chorus is very good, and it's brilliant all the way through.
5. White Sparrows
Another contender for my favourite. The best riff of the album, followed by slower, more chilled drumming, then pretty good vocals. The best thing about this song, though, is the chorus. It makes me want to sing along every time. The shouting part before the main lyrics is brilliant, and done very well by the backing vocalist.
6. Pocketful Of Dreams
Again this song starts with a riff, then drumming, and this style is a bit overused in this album, but this song is a slightly different style of music to the rest, it's more pop-punk than the rest, which I like. The chorus is pretty good as well
7. The Dead Can't Testify
The same style again, but this time the drop from the guitar into the drumming is better, because the rest of the instruments join in then too. The best songs of the album are over by now though, so from now on the songs aren't quite as good
8. Diamond On A Landmine
This one has one of the best intros of the album, so has the potential to be very good, and it delivers. This is the only song in the second half of the album that is really good. The verses aren't perfect, but the chorus is great
9. Turn Your Back
This song comes straight in with drums and guitar, which is better. It's an alright song too, with a pretty good chorus with good vocals
10. Sudden Movements
This song sounds the same as the last one, and if the track order was better, the album might be better in general. This song is OK.
11. Definition of Destiny
A nice riff to start, this is a good way for the album to go out. It's a pretty good song, and although it's not the best of the album, I quite like it.
In conclusion, there are a lot of songs that sound similar that you might prefer, but all in all my favourite songs are White Sparrows and Tears Into Wine, so if your music taste is similar to mine, I'd recommend listening to those. Although, the most famous song is Rusted From The Rain, so you might like that to
Billy Talent's debut album was a mix of screaming vocals, heartfelt lyrics and chugging guitar riffs. Billy Talent II was a more mature sound with less shouting and more thought given to the architecture of songs.
III is yet again a more adult, thought provoking offering that continues to improve the bands sound. Whilst the overall quality of the album is arguably on a par with II, individual songs stand out more. Diamond On A Landmine is a moment of genuine musical delight whilst Devil On My Shoulder, Rusted From The Rain and Turn Your Back all hold that distinctive Billy Talent riffage with catchy hooks that have you singing along.
One of the albums highlights is The Dead Can't Testify which sounds unlike anything BT have done previously. A haunting, old fashioned dark tale, it dazzles and enchants. White Sparrows is a song of such raw emotion that it can bring you within an inch of tears if you let it.
Even if the album tails off slightly towards the end it still shows that Billy Talent will continue to evolve and develop as a band and their music can only get stronger.
The third album from Billy Talent is not like the previous two at all, it is completely different! For their first two albums you could almost pigeon hole Billy Talent in the emo rock genre - almost. But there was always something different about them which you could not quite place.
The first two albums were remarkably faster paced and angrier albums at first glance, the third is far quieter and slower, but don't think this is some country and western garbage by any means, it still has their anger at life for example in the lyrics, "I begged for mercy from my infernal friend, the one that drives the nails into my coffin." I think a lot more thought has gone into this album, as there is absolutely no filler, previously you could perhaps pick out one track that was weak but now they are all solid gold.
The likes of Diamond on a landmine and Devil on my shoulder still maintain their ever strong choruses from past albums without the ear shattering vocals! Throughout all the tracks you can tell that Ian D'Sa and Ben Kowalewicz are still writing about the women in their life, with lyrics like, "She's in control of everything, I'm just a puppet, she pulls my strings..." This is part of what makes Billy Talent such a great band, they write about their own lives, and they write it themselves, the total opposite of the plastic pop "artists" out there these days from all these talent shows with teams of writers making up meaningless lyrics, these lads truly write what they feel and experience - and Billy Talent III (called Billy Talent the third) is a prime example and showcase of the afore mentioned talents.
I highly recommend you buy this album (only £6.74 delivered on CD-Wow!) or at the very least check out some of the newest tracks on their Myspace page which won't cost you a penny, or even look them up on Spotify! If you are a current fan of Billy, then gives this album a chance and listen to three or four times before making up your mind on it as it grows on you!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Devil On My Shoulder
2 Rusted From The Rain
3 Saint Veronika
4 Tears Into Wine
5 White Sparrows
6 Pocketful Of Dreams
7 Dead Can't Testify, The
8 Diamond On A Landmine
9 Turn Your Back
10 Sudden Movements
11 Definition Of Destiny