Review Summary: A poor man's attempt at Americanizing The Rasmus.
Growing up The Rasmus was one of my childhood obsessions and one of the first bands I really got into, so seeing them fall as fast and hard as they did on this record, was nothing but painful. I quite frankly felt betrayed because I knew that they were capable of so much more. Ever since their style and name change in 2001 with their record Into the band has released 3 cohesively good records. Fast forward to 2008 and were presented with what should've been their big break through record. Instead were presented with a record that's so discohesive that it makes one wonder what happened.
It still feels like a The Rasmus record with its overall dark atmosphere and guitar sound, but it clearly feels like there have been too many cooks in this kitchen, as most of the songs seem promising but unfortunately it's not but one big smokescreen. Whenever songs like "Ghost of Love" or "Ten Black Roses" seems promising with either having a solid verse or chorus a new segment will come completely out of left-field and throw it out of balance, making the album sound disjointed and quite frankly unfinished. It sounds like a compilation made out of random segments made by the band members and put together just to see how it would turn out. Safe to say, it was not a success. I am not going to sugarcoat it, Black Roses is just not a very good record. In fact, it's quite bad.
Little did it help that the band abandoned Martin Hansen and Mikael Nord, producers of Into, Dead Letters and Hide from the Sun. Knowing that, this seem like a classic case of why one shouldn't try to fix something that isn't broken, because going to American producer and song-writer Desmond Child clearly wasn't the right decision.
Not only did he produce Black Roses, but he also co-wrote the whole thing, which is what I believe to be the main reason for the albums overall discohesiveness. Desmond Child was on the top of his game in the 1980's with hits like "I Was Made for Loving You" by KISS and "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. But how on earth would his radio friendly stadium rock sound work with The Rasmus? The answer is Black Roses, a poor man's attempt Americanizing the Finnish gothic rock made famous by bands such as HIM, Nightwish and The Rasmus.
It may sound like I am giving this album a hard time, and I am, but at the end of the day, the album's not a complete pile of garbage. The lead single "Livin' in a World Without You" is quite catchy and memorable and some of the symphonic elements is a nice addition to the band's overall sound. You can clearly tell it's The Rasmus record, especially with their almost grunge like riffs, which is in a way quite sad. Because if The Rasmus only had trusted themselves enough to make this record without an additional songwriter, songs like "Your Forgiveness" could've possibly become their next "In the Shadows". Unfortunately, it is not.