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Animal House – Living in Black and White

Animal House
Living in Black and White
by Leanne Evans at 03 May 2021, 9:07 PM

ANIMAL HOUSE is clearly a band of six testosterone-fuelled caged animals ready to be let loose, chomping at the bit to burst out like lions, on the prowl and ready to pounce. Made up of the best-known musicians from the north-eastern Italian music scene, ANIMAL HOUSE has released their debut album, “Living in Black and White”, an eight-track album of pure heavy metal, with a progressive power feel to their sound. These guys are grandiose and kick dirt in your face with their dominant presence and hard-hitting guitar chords; their energy is infectious and their tracks anthemic. Is it any wonder that they’re a favourite amongst the Italian biker scene and have dominated many a biker festival and rallies over the years? ANIMAL HOUSE is fun, yet untamed, ferocious, as well as feral; they don’t seek approval and don’t give a shit about opinion, hell, they probably don’t even care about this God-damn review! They bring a healthy punch of old-school rock to their sound, with quite the ACCEPT and SCORPIONS vibe, yet have an enjoyable sound completely of their own their own free-spirited identity.  “Living in Black and White” releases the untamed beast that is ANIMAL HOUSE, simply here to go full-frontal, be aggressive and kick the shit out of their music and mate with your ears.

ANIMAL HOUSE is a fun sextet, for sure, but equally, as much as they’re a bestial bunch, they have hearts of lions and the whole album deals with issues related to human feelings, in particular, inner suffering. “Need to be Me” teases with a gentle piano lilt to the intro, much like the start of BLACK SABBATH’s “Changes”, and you feel there might be something gentle and nostalgic coming on. Give it just shy of 30 seconds and you’ll see that this track bursts open and tears itself in two, with deep bass lines and crisp guitars. There’s a thunderous feel as everything builds up and ruptures, and it’s definitely an introspective piece, but executed in waves of aggression, it’s a great intro to “Living in Black and White”. The continuation of the profound can be seen in “The Ghost of the Loneliest Man”, amped up and ramped up, but still quite the sensitive soul, representing those moments of pain and difficulty faced in life. The weeping guitars with the vocals is a great touch and layers emotion to the track with the chorus “My tears I swallow/In silent sorrow/With no tomorrow/No one can save me from my past”.

So, the guys bared their souls, now, “The Only Way to Live”, exposes more of a cock-rock feel to ANIMAL HOUSE. Leading with a VERY dirty bass line to start and plenty of build-up in the guitars, this track is basically about living life without apology. An orgasmic guitar solo blisters in the middle of the track and there’s “squealies” aplenty, with the guitars working in unison perfectly. The drum line is steady and Massimo maintains a decent rousing rhythm with Antonio’s varied range and top grit to his tone. The same can be said for “The Only Way to Live”, THAT familiar dirty bass line hits once again (bravo, Andrea!) and everything sonically crescendos, especially the double-bass drumming that kicks in and the guitar work from Carlo, Claudio and Thomas is stunning and wow-inducing. It’s a charged high-octane anthem and Antonio nails the vocals once more with exceptional range. I imagine this would be a sterling track live and quite the crowd pleaser!

The lively ANIMAL HOUSE do cocky and obstreperous well, but equally, these dudes have fistfuls of soul and, behind their angry jaws, they have moments of being soft-hearted and sweet-tempered. Title-track, “Living in Black and White”, displays just this and unravels as more of a ballad-style contemplative composition, pulling quite the introspective vibe. There’s a soothing mellowness about it and, given this is just over the halfway mark on the album, it works really well, breaking up the riotous raucousness perfectly. But have no fear, these rambunctious rockers switch back to their signature action-packed sound quicker than an eager teenage boy’s “first time”. The electrifying sound of “Eyes of Revenge” crashes right in with all its rip-roaring badass turbulence and definitely shows itself as a piece of “revenge is a dish best served cold”. “Beyond Your Fate” then continues with ANIMAL HOUSE’s rumbustious nature, bringing plenty to shout about with its infectiously inspiring rowdiness and then, last, but not least, “Bintars” wheel-spins in. An anthem created for the Bintars Motorcycle Club, “Bintars” is everything rollicking, rowdy and lawless in sound that you could hope for. It’s no surprise that the guys and girls of the biker world love this to death; it’s a perfectly wild ending to “Living in Black and White” and leaves you pumped, ready to get out and burn some rubber!

Listening to “Living in Black and White”, I really got a sense that ANIMAL HOUSE is made up of six very impassioned characters, living life to the fullest and having fun. I can see them having an absolute blast at gigs, amongst those who love life and all its energy and prefer their glasses half-full. Antonio doesn’t come with an abundance of virtuosity to his voice, but he has heart, passion and knows how to get you energised and can belt out a tune well enough. Instrumentally, the musicians are strong and have a natural bond and connection that’s pleasing to the ear and the production is clean with strong execution. I can see why ANIMAL HOUSE is a firm favourite with the Bintars; hell, I don’t even own two wheels, but I want to crack out the leather, straddle a motorcycle and become a member of their biker family, or perhaps even an honorary member of ANIMAL HOUSE, after inhaling the intoxicating fumes of “Living in Black and White”.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Need to Be Me
2. The Ghost of the Loneliest Man
3. The Only Way to Live
4. The Man from Nowhere
5. Living in Black and White
6. Eyes of Revenge
7. Beyond Your Fate
8. Bintars
Antonio Boscari - Vocals
Carlo Venutti - Guitar
Claudio “The Reaper” Livera - Guitar
Thomas Titze - Guitar
Andrea Attollino - Bass
Massimo “Ginger” Bravo - Drums
Record Label: Punishment18 Records


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