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BlackBeer - Take the Freedom

Take the Freedom
by Chris Hicklin at 18 July 2022, 4:54 PM

Primarily based in France but boasting members from Venezuela and Argentina as well, BLACKBEER are an explosive new Hard Rock band, and “Take the Freedom” is their debut release. The band has come together in quite a chaotic manner, with the Reyes brothers having abandoned their homeland of Venezuela for political reasons, with Emil arriving in Europe as a refugee, while Emmy spent eight years in the French Foreign Legion before meeting guitarist Bertrand Cape and forming the nascent BLACKBEER.

The album begins with an intro with a swirling Hammond organ and a few enigmatic squeals of guitar before we reach the first proper song “The Night Is Ready” which launches like a rocket, with a growling motorbike effect so we all know exactly where the band is coming from. The riff is fast picked and tight, the guitar tone seems a little off at first, it’s got quite a bit more mids than you’d expect, but you get used to that quickly. One thing that really impresses immediately is not only the voice of singer Iván Sencion, which has more than a bit of Joey Belladonna’s bellow about it, but also the way he has constructed the backing vocals with starkly different voicings going on, which are creates a powerful and sonically interesting effect.

The next two songs demonstrate a bit of diversity as we have in “Take the Freedom” something approaching an 80s WHITESNAKE-esque power ballad, fist pumping melodies soaring upwards, and a tight, shreddy Vandenburg style guitar solo make this one a treat, while “The King Of Water” is a solid Blues based Rocker with soulful organs and a cheeky bit of cowbell. “The Gift” is different once again, being a laid-back sparkling acoustic ballad in which Sencion’s vocals excel.

Now Or Never” plunges us back into full throttle Melodic Hard Rock albeit with a slightly darker edge, this one features multiple examples of extremely fluid soloing, I am not sure which of the two virtuosos the band have to hand is responsible, perhaps a bit of both. “Angel” is another straightforward Melodic Rocker, nothing special, but perfectly serviceable.

There’s a little lighter and darker on display in “Sweet Life” as the song switches between Emil Reyes’s atmospheric and spacious bass led verses and the typically huge choruses we have come to expect from the album by now. Penultimate offering “Turn Off the Pain” really slows the pace down to a crawl, being noticeably more measured than anything else on the album, lots of room is given to the soulful vocals again and this is quite a well written piece.

That just leaves the appropriately titled “Hot Demon” to close the LP, heralded by a huge Metal wail, this one is a tight efficient Rocker with a driving riff, and a wild guitar solo that shreds every available fret with insane sweeps and arpeggios. I’m pleased they brought the pace up, as despite the quality of the song writing, the slower pacing of the songs was starting to cause a little fatigue and the album deserved to go out on a more energetic note.

The production is certainly decent throughout, as I mentioned I am not really all that keen on the guitar tone, but it does the job, and the real star of the show is the writing and performances. This material should all translate to the stage with a big bang this summer.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. The Night Is Ready
3. Take the Freedom
4. The King of Water
5. The Gift
6. Now or Never
7. Angel
8. Turn Off the Pain
9. Sweet Life
10. Hot Demon
Iván Sencion - Vocals
Emmy Reyes - Guitars
Bertrand Cape - Guitars
Emil Reyes - Bass
Sylvain Vidal - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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