Released on September 13, 2019 (SPV / Steamhammer)
As year end draws closer, I start to worry that I will have bypassed one of the year’s great albums before coming up with Sleaze Roxx‘s top album list of the year. To make sure that this would not happen, I recently purchased three albums — Michael Monroe‘s One Man Gang, Aerodyne‘s Damnation and BlackRain‘s Dying Breed. I think most people will agree that you can’t go wrong in purchasing a Michael Monroe album as the former Hanoi Rocks frontman seems to deliver time and time again with each of his record releases. Aerodyne‘s Damnation ended up already getting reviewed by Sleaze Roxx writer Daz and they got a stellar review. This leaves BlackRain. Frankly, the group really wasn’t on my radar. I knew that the French rockers had been around for a while with their debut full-length album BlackRain (the band considers it a “demo”) dating back to 2006. I wasn’t really into their album Released (what an odd title), which was released in 2016.
Nevertheless, I kept an open mind when the news that BlackRain‘s new record Dying Breed would be getting released in September. The first thing that struck me was the cover looked like what a death metal band would come up with but upon closer inspection, it was simply a cartoon version of the band members in skeleton form in a cemetery. I got to say that the cover actually excited me in that I was hoping for a slightly harder sound from BlackRain based on the cover. Eventually, the Dying Breed CD made its way into my CD player and I got to say that the title track for the album sucked me in right away. I have always equated — rightly or wrongly — the rather old sporting anthem “Na Na Hey Key Kiss Him Goodbye” to the mostly French speaking province of Quebec so hearing BlackRain start their title track with the words “Na Na Na Na” seemed very fitting for the French rockers. It works really well and gets you singing along quickly with the upbeat track that lays down the groundwork for what has turned out to be one of my favorite albums of the year. Funny enough, when I first heard the song “Dying Breed” through the group’s lyric video, I wasn’t that enamoured by it but hearing it on CD is a totally different experience.
Next up is on the Dying Breed album is “Hellfire” and while I like the song, it’s actually not one of the stronger tracks on the album. I am actually surprised that it got the video treatment in advance of the album’s release. “Blast Me Up” is another strong track highlighted by a simple guitar riff before the song really takes off with the band members screaming “Blast Me Up” while singer Swan Hellion continues to sing the song’s verses. “Nobody Can Change” is a solid rocker but not one of the highlights on the record. Interestingly, “Like Me” has a grunge like feel to it when I listen to it. I am not much of a grunge fan — after all, it seemingly put hair metal bands out of business overnight — but the chorus on BlackRain‘s “Like Me” reminds me quite a bit of Nirvana with the “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” portions. In any case, it works really well and it’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. I’m not much of a ballad fan but the song “All Angels Have Gone” is decent and I never think of skipping it, which says something right there.
One of the most interesting tracks on Dying Breed is “Rock Radio” which seems to have a lot of Queen influences to it and is likely one of the most “commercial” tracks on the album. Nevertheless, BlackRain are able to pull it off and either it will become a classic track for the band or it will be the dud on the album. I personally really like it and hope that BlackRain release a video for it. “Public Enemy” is probably one of the catchiest songs on the album but with some rather heavy music for certain parts. Dying Breed closes with the easy to like “A Call From The Inside” which is probably the most commercial track of the album. As I did a bit of background research for this review, I noticed that Dying Breed actually has two bonus tracks — “Jenny Jen” and “Ca Plane Pour Moi” — which are inexplicably not on the CD that I purchased. Luckily, just about any album can be found on the internet these days. “Jenny Jen” feels like filler material compared to what can be found on Dying Breed. “Ca Plane Pour Moi” has a bit of a punk-ish vibe to it with the distinction that lead vocalist Swan Hellion sings the song entirely in French.
Overall, BlackRain‘s Dying Breed has turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the year for me. I had very low expectations for Dying Breed but the first few singles / videos got me interested to the point that I purchased the record and it is now one of my sleaze album releases of the year. That being said, I will say that the production isn’t that great on Dying Breed and I can just imagine how much better that the record would be with a more bombastic sound.
01. Dying Breed
03. Blast Me Up
04. Nobody Can Change
05. Like Me
06. All Angels Have Gone
07. We Are The Mayhem
08. Rock Radio
09. Public Enemy
10. A Call From The Inside
11. Jenny Jen
12. Ca Plane Pour Moi
Swan Hellion – lead vocals, guitar
Max 2 – lead guitar
Matthieu De La Roche – bass
Frank F – drums
Mixed by Chris Laney (1 to 3, 7 to 10)
Mixed by Bryan Pachaud (4 to 6)
Mastered by Bryan Pachaud
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, November 2019
BlackRain‘s “Dying Breed” lyric video:
Taken from the forthcoming studio album “Dying Breed” – out September 13th, 2019!Pre-Order Link: https://BlackRain.lnk.to/DyingBreedDon’t miss the band on to…
BlackRain‘s “Hellfire” video:
Taken from the current album “Dying Breed” – out now!Order Link: https://BlackRain.lnk.to/DyingBreedDirector and editing : Laurent Chesneauhttps://laurentche…
BlackRain‘s “A Call From The Inside” video:
Taken from the forthcoming album “Dying Breed” – out September 13th, 2019!Pre-Order Link: https://BlackRain.lnk.to/DyingBreedMore infos and tourdates at: htt…
BlackRain‘s “Blast Me Up” (live at Hellfest 2019) video:
Filmed live at Hellfest 2019!The studio version is on the new album “Dying Breed” – out now!Order Link: https://BlackRain.lnk.to/DyingBreedFilmed by www.somb…