Review Summary: Traditional metallers will find Unbankable to be a fairly decent free and legal download - if they can Accept its flaws.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
As most people will know by now, the Internet has brought revolutionary changes to pretty much every sector of society. However, as is also widely known, those changes were far from immediate, instead playing out over a number of stages which eventually led to the current state of affairs.
Case in point: music sharing. While it is still widely outlawed today, the days of Lars Ulrich insulting his fans over the use of Napster is far behind us, and many bands have learned to embrace this new and widespread tool and use it from their own benefit. The example, of course, came from the rock and metal world, where the fun and the ethics are more important than the money; however, many mainstream bands have since embraced it, making one or more of their albums available for free download or even concocting special, digital-only "bonus" albums to give away on their website. Similarly, while the trend was started by the young, struggling bands - particularly those on Myspace - a few veteran bands have been known to adhere to the trend as well. Such a band is today's subject, Revenge, a veteran bunch of French traditional metallers whose first flirt with Jamendo.com was so successful, they came back for seconds.
Revenge were formed in 1995 by guitarists Thierry Apaix and Phillipe Gauss, along with lead singer Phillipe Chauchon and drummer Chris Dalla Costa. Over the next few years, the formation would suffer very little change, with the only noticeable shake being the depart of Chauchon, replaced by what is simultaneously this band's best and worst asset, P'Tit Jo. Other than that, only a bassist switch in 2003 appears on the record, which goes a long way towards ensuring this band's consistency - after all, it's not every band that can boast to still have three-fifths of their original lineup from fifteen years ago! Unfortunately, consistency isn't everything, and in the case of Revenge, the overall package is still a few flaws away from actual relevance.
- an attempt at something new after an understated "traditional" career - showcases all of this band's strenghts and weaknesses in a handy nine-song package. On the one hand, there are irrepressible hard'n'heavy riffs and rock-out-loud moments that will make any wrinkled denim-and-leatherer worth his salt raise his fist in celebration; on the other, some less-than-accomplished choruses, inane lyrics and excessive inspiration from a single band keep this from being a fully recommendable album, even if it is a perfectly decent free-and-legal download.
Starting out with the positives, Revenge's experience in the art of heavy metal ensures that they keep it rockin' at all times. The band may reuse every cliché in the book - and they do, gleefully - but damn if they don't still work, each and every one of them. While one is rocking out to the huge riffs on Do You Wanna Rock Me
, We Gonna Fight
or Hot Dirty Lover
, the group's many shortcomings tend to be leniently overlooked, a feeling which only heightens during highlights such as Erotic Fantazy
. However, once the listener comes back down to Earth, there is no denying the obvious: the song structures on the album are primary, the lyrics are often extremely dumb, and the band nearly always seems to fall just short of a good chorus. In most songs, the band seems headed for a whopping metal anthem, only to disappoint with a boring or unimaginative chorus section. Whenever this problem is fixed - such as in the standouts - the album gets substantially better, but one can't shake the feeling of "what could have been".
However, none of the above constitutes Revenge's main problem. The band might have been a respectable contender in the heavy metal game if it wasn't for P'tit Jo. While the lead singer helps give this band their identity, he also contributes to make them sound like little more than ripoffs of another band. In this case, his raspy tone is eerily similar to that of Udo Dirkschneider, equally diminutive frontman of German metallers Accept and U.D.O. And even while the rest of the band makes (honestly quite feeble) attempts to escape that influence, Jo drags them right back in, diminishing the overall value of the group as valid, original performers.
Still, on the best moments of this album, it's hard to be mad at Revenge. Stompers like opener Face To Face
- with P'tit Jo sounding like an adenoidal Brian Johnson - are extremely fun, while the driving rhythm of Do You Wanna Rock Me
makes it the second best song on this album, losing only to power-metallic anthem Erotic Fantazy
, which overcomes its inane lyrics with a whopper of a chorus sure to stick in the listener's head for days. Tracks like Why Don't You Call Me
- a metal ballad as cheesy as it is effective - serve as good backup and help minimize the effects of the more fillerish tracks.
Make no mistake, though - there is still plenty of space on this album for the stupid - the atrocious chorus of "money, money/we're unbankable"
- and the mediocre - Actions Not Words
, the title track itself. However, when everything is said and done, Revenge still manage to scrape through on a technicality - in this case, the fact that the album is legally downloadable for free. Any traditional metal fans should therefore give this band a try - they'll find Unbankable
to be a fairly decent download, as long as they can Accept its flaws.
Face To Face
Do You Wanna Rock Me
Download it legally for FREE at: