BLACK LABEL - BLOOD MONEY / LIVE IN BERLIN (Bad Reputation Records)
Black Label is probably one of the best live acts from Australia, and their fourth studio album comes along with an extra disc that contains a live registration of a gig they played in Berlin. I’ve been searching the internet to find out more about this unknown band, but I guess that they like to focus on songs and arrangements accompanied with live gigs instead of presenting a full digital biography. This band wants to rock, they want to have fun and the stage is their forum. Bio, discography, homepages and other contemporary matters aren’t their most important thing, as only music makes the difference.
And that’s exactly what this album is giving along with! Black Label wants to create a musical soundscape with songs that mainly contain a defiant collection of ballsy heavy rock anthems. The new album shows a significant maturity in both the song writing and musical stakes. This band is far more authentic as Airbourne and other bands that play AC/DC style of rock, as they aim on the song as one completeness. Longevity and a consistent delivery of slick shows has led to a large and growing fan base throughout Australia, and the members of Black Label are welcomed at all major Motorcycle and Tattoo Shows that are organized down under.
‘Blood Money’ will be distributed in Europe and Bad Reputation Records from France offered them a deal, which was a brilliant move! The music and sound of this band will be received by European metal heads with open arms as they surely make the difference with nowadays Rock Metal releases. This band has the skills to bring their tracks with songs that add a little more compared with other similar bands. They combine a heavy duty groove with firebrand hard core riffs and the vocals of lead singer Steve add the necessary hoarse and unrefined extra to the material. I believe that ‘Blood Money’ was originally released by the band in 2010, but could be considered as an independent release. This, so called, re-release by Bad Reputation Records is scheduled for March 10th. 2014, and the bonus disc contains a live registration, originally recorded in 2008.
The album starts with some shredding guitars and a heavy beat, and the song ‘Slap In The Face’ contains vocals that are heavy and at the same time well-fitting to the pumping rhythm of the music. The track also has a slowly drawn out solo by Ross and Jon and although this track is rather slow, it has a very heavy foundation. ‘Big Talker’ contains more Rose Tattoo ingredients and this track is a pure Rock’n Roll classic tune. The pace increases with ‘Dirty Little Bitch’ and besides provocative lyrics, this song has balls as well! The best track on “Blood Money” is called ‘Brothers In Arms’ as there is a majestic chorus leads this track into a real masterpiece. There is a lot of melody in this song, and the vocals of lead singer Steve lift this track to the highlight of the album. Every track on “Blood Money” has a little extra but some tracks can be regarded as real pearls. The band knows how to add a little extra, and sometimes it is hidden in the chorus, sometimes in the solos, but in the end there is always something to enjoy and discover.
After several plays of this album, I switched over to the live disc that accompanied this release as well. “Live In Berlin” contains 12 tracks and the first 8 songs on this live registration are tracks from the fourth studio album ‘Blood Money’, followed by the tracks ‘Shake It Baby Shake It’ and ‘All Or Nothin’” from their “Seven Deadly Sins” album. After these tracks we get another Blood Money track (‘Dirty Little Bitch’) and the closing track is ‘C’Mon’ which is a cover of The Screaming Jets. I was really amused by the studio album “Blood Money”, but after listening to this live CD, I must admit that I’m more flattered with the live vibe that this album is breathing out. The vocals are more direct, lesser polished, the energy drips out of my CD player, and the songs contain the perfect atmosphere to start the party.
Black Label surprised me from start till finish, and I’m sure that this band would fit perfectly on European stages as well. I’m going to rate both albums as equal to each other, but “Live In Berlin” scores one point extra because the live feeling is predominating the studio recordings.
My rating: ‘Blood Money’: 83 /100 ‘Live In Berlin’ : 84 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish