Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Specter At The Feast


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
March 17th, 2013 | 48 replies | 7,676 views


Release Date: 03/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club pouring their hearts into one strong effort.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club returned after a couple of quiet years with their 7th studio record, Specter At The Feast. The death of Michael Been back in 2010 in the middle of the tour was a huge loss for the band. For those unaware of his connection with them, he was bassist Robert's father, mentor, producer and a live sound technician, going on tour with them. After such a tragic event, BRMC recorded this as a tribute to Been and a way to rid the pain.

Musically, Specter At The Feast marks a slight return to the dense, less filtered shoegaze/garage rock sound of their first two records, B.R.M.C. and Take Them On, On Your Own. There are no country folk outings, the band focusing more in creating a cohesive unit. This way, each song feels cut from the same cloth, instead of trying to check each style tackled with over the course of a decade. As usual, the record is clearly divided in two, heavy or mellow, parts, yet this time most of Robert's compositions fall into the latter category.

There are a lot of enjoyable moments on the album and right from the beginning, the haunting "Fire Walker" with its movie soundtrack-like, lengthy intro, immerses the listener in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's dismal universe. The chemistry between Been and Hayes is more intact than ever, the former providing the backbone of the song and the latter usually enriching it. The two have been improving their "communication" skills for over a decade now and with the help of the straightforward, steady rock drumming of Leah Shapiro, have managed to establish a sound of their own.

While Robert's compositions are, as mentioned, more subdued and attention demanding, Hayes' ones include some of his, and subsequently the band's, best moments in a long time. "Hate The Taste" is a slick rocker with an infectious verse delivery and a groovy bass line. It has the necessary swag to live up to the band's own name, a characteristic rarely heard lately. Same goes with the dry, slow burner "Sell It" that builds up from a low bass line and several distorted guitar washes to a wall of noise towards the end. The guys let out their demons, becoming one of the hardest songs BRMC have recorded yet.

Also, the high-octane "Teenage Disease", which brings to mind "Six Barrel Shotgun" from Take Them On, On Your Own and featuring some cool, raucous vocals is another standout. On the opposite end, "Sometimes The Light" is a pristine, organ-led ballad with gospel leanings, that sounds really beautiful. It has to be their most effective non-country ballad since Howl's "Open Invitation".

Been has his share of highlights too, consisting mainly of the album closer, "Lose Yourself", which might be the most nostalgic and honest song Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have penned yet. Robert's humble croon matches perfectly the lovely, dreamy guitars, ending Specter On The Feast on an equal haunting note as started. There isn't much variation, the song acting instead more like a requiem, keeping the same eerie vibe throughout. A more positive tune is The Call cover "Let The Day Begin", a direct tribute to his father, as he fronted the respective band. Still, BRMC give it a personal touch, successfully converting it to their sound.

In the end, Specter At The Feast is one of the strongest overall efforts released by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club so far. It comes across as a mature record, unfortunately marred by the tragic loss of Michael Been, yet the band managed to pour their hearts into it, getting the best out of the situation. The songs are all solid at the very least and there are various highlights that stand up high in their catalog. Also, it can be a pleasant starting point for newcomers and offers enough variety for old fans to sink in.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There should be more love for this band on Sputnik. The album is great, everyone should check it out. It came out a couple of days ago in mainland Europe and will be out tomorrow anywhere else, buy it!.

Stream it here - http://blackrebelmotorcycleclub.com/specteratthefeast/

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2013



5985 Comments


Good review.


One minor suggestion:

Please include in the second paragraph the genre(s) the first two BRMC albums file under.


On another note, I have their first album lying somewhere, but I didn't give it much attention back in the day.

Perhaps I should give it a careful spin sometime soon.

Digging: Lisa Gerrard - Twilight Kingdom

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh thanks for mentioning that. The first album is really representative of their work. If you have the time, check out Hate The Taste, Sell It, Teenage Disease and Fire Walker off this one. They are really cool.

MichaelSnoxall
March 17th 2013



12163 Comments


Still need to check this. Great band.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed.

bloc
March 17th 2013



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Band has a couple of wicked tracks but this sounded boring

Digging: Messiah - Choir of Horrors

zakalwe
March 17th 2013



7306 Comments


Great debut, shit second album, Howl is a classic and everything since has been average but I will give this a go.

Digging: J Mascis - Tied to a Star

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Come on bloc, this is better than their last records. Hate The Taste and Sell It are really strong.

wacknizzle
March 17th 2013



12886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is fantastic, best stuff I've heard from these guys in years.

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers

bloc
March 17th 2013



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Alright maybe I will check it out

Asdfp277
March 17th 2013



1031 Comments


featured congratz.

the opening paragraph sounds cheesy, like when track-by-tracks give the band's info tho

"As expected, given the uneasy background, Robert's songs are mostly mournful and more settled, however, guitar player Peter Hayes balances the record, providing most of heavy tunes. "
-put a period before however. the first sentence could use a rewrite, too.

the entire 4th paragraph sounds awkward.

Asdfp277
March 17th 2013



1031 Comments


Double post, stupid Internet.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I'll correct those parts.

RadicalEd
March 18th 2013



2587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Alright, this review makes me want to check this album out, which is suprising, because everything
this band touched after debut was not as good as the debut, and the last two releases were terrible.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013



3353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad to hear you are willing to give this a chance. There isn't enough love for BRMC on Sputnik.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2013



21767 Comments


Cover reminds me of Amnesiac

EaglesBecomeVultures
March 18th 2013



5207 Comments


could never get into this band

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

Ishysez
March 18th 2013



68 Comments


Wow haven't thought about these guys in years. Will check this out, I definitely jammed to Howl quite a few times.

Good review btw

AdrianBusk
March 18th 2013



3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have not heard this album properly yet. However, i think it's a nice rockin' LP and I have truly missed BRMC. Love the way it is produced anyway.. Everything is nice and feels live

BigHans
March 18th 2013



26455 Comments


band rules



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