Billy Talent
Billy Talent II


3.5
great

Review

by Jeremy Price USER (33 Reviews)
June 26th, 2006 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Billy Talent are:

Ben Kowalewicz ? Vocals
Ian D?sa ? Vocals, Guitar
Jon Gallant ? Vocals, Bass
Aaron Solowoniuk ? Drums

Billy Talent may well be one of the biggest Canadian bands of the last 5 years. In the space of two years, they have gone from playing half-empty halls to winning Junos and playing in front of thousands. Their debut CD has sold millions, and their name has gone from obscure novel reference to household name. So, with all this hype, how could Billy Talent II possibly live up to their name? Have we not heard of the sophomore curse? How could four of the newest stars of Canadian music not disappoint their fans?

Answer: Release an album that takes everything good about the last album, and improve on all the bad stuff. While that sounds like one of the simplest things to do, the truth is very few bands nowadays actually manage to do it well. Billy Talent are one of the few bands that actually pull it off, and Billy Talent II is a true gift to fans, providing a diverse sound without straying away from their punk revitalist roots. Truly, Billy Talent II is everything Billy Talent was and more.

Now that I think about it, Billy Talent II is a fitting name. II implies a continuation, and that?s exactly what this album is. This isn?t a totally new direction for Billy Talent. It?s a continuation of the style they had in their first album. That doesn?t mean Billy Talent II is a copy of Billy Talent. The only description I can have for this album is: An improvement.

Another one of the things that differentiates the current album from the last one is the new diversity. The album manages to tap into many different genres, without losing their signature aggressive punk sound. From the crunching darkness of Devil In A Midnight Mass, to the pop-rock sounding Where Is The Line, to the emotional ballads Pins and Needles and Surrender, to punks anthems Red Flag and Perfect World, this album has a song for everyone.

Devil In A Midnight Mass is possibly the darkest song Billy Talent have ever written, and it?s definitely a direction they should go in more often. The first single off the album, DIAMM starts with a crunching dark riff, and continues in the same fast-paced style. At 2:52, it?s actually the shortest song on the album, but you?ll be too busy moshing to even care. The lyrics are also very dark, and make numerous references to religion and betrayal. For the main riff alone, this song deserves a five. Combined with everything else the song has to offer, it just makes it that much better. This song is an absolute triumph for Billy Talent. 5/5

Any major fans of Billy Talent will probably know of Red Flag. It was originally released as a demo for the new album, and quickly circulated along the internet. The new version is basically the same as the demo, only with some minor changes here and there. This is one of the catchier songs on the album, and is a great punk anthem. It?s a lot of fun, and brings you back to what made Billy Talent a great punk band. This song would make a great choice for second single, and is another one of the standout tracks on the album. 4/5

This Suffering slows things down from the last two songs, and helps prepare you for what comes next on the album. It?s a fairly simple song, but it has a nice vibe to it. The chorus especially stands out. That?s a common theme with Billy Talent II. The choruses are all near perfect, and standout on every track. Ian and Jon?s chant of ?This Suffering!? is deeply powerful, and throughout the song, both give powerful performances. Ian seems to have more vocal time on this album, and I?m not complaining in the least. A very good song indeed. 4/5

For me, Worker Bees is probably one standout track on the album. From the very first listen, there has been something very special about this song. Lyrically, the song is impressive, because the entire song is a metaphor for the current situation in America at the moment, cleverly portrayed through bees. Musically, the song is amazing as well, simply because of the vocals performances given by Ben and Ian. Ian?s rough melodic cry of "Can we fight to save ourselves?" is definitely the highlight of the song, and beautifully works with Ben?s punk screaming. Definitely the best on the album. 4.75/5

From the sheer power and energy of the last song, we are transferred into a softer mood for the next song, Pins And Needles. This song is really the Nothing to Lose of this album, in that it starts off very soft and beautiful, and by the end evolves into a dark powerhouse of aggression. Once again, Ian shines during the chorus, and his lighter singing beautifully compliments the guitarwork. As well, his shouting/singing blend work perfectly throughout the album, and especially here. Another solid track. 4.25/5

Next up is Fallen Leaves, another slightly lighter song. There?s really not much to say about this song, as it?s a pretty standard Billy Talent track. The catchy chorus, the simple but impressive guitar work, the overlap of Ben and Ian?s vocals. In fact, the only unique thing in this song is the fact that it actually has something resembling a solo in it. That?s one of the things Billy Talent has rarely done, and is one of the few things that prevents this from becoming filler. While it?s nothing special, it?s still a decent song. 3.75/5


Where Is The Line is probably Billy Talent?s poppiest song to date. Very catchy and light, this is a totally new direction for Billy Talent, yet it is one that they already seem to have mastered. They manage to perfectly balance upbeat catchy vocals and drums with a bouncy chorus, and yet still manage to sound punk. The ending of the song is also very cool, with the catchy shouts of ?Here today, but forgotten tomorrow!? Another one of the better tracks on the album. 4.5/5

Covered In Cowardice starts out with an almost western-sounding riff, and maintains the western feel throughout. This is another one of the songs that is pretty cool the first time through, but quickly wears thin. Similar to Fallen Leaves, it?s a pretty standard song, and besides the western sounding guitars, there?s nothing that differentiates it from any other song on the album. 4/5

The next song, Surrender, is another departure for Billy Talent. It?s possibly the only non-aggressive song on the album, and in any of their albums, for that matter. Ian?s vocals aren?t shouted, Ian doesn?t scream, and the guitars are soft and calming. Definitely a unique approach for the band, and one they pull off without a hitch. This song has so much going for it, and shows that Billy Talent can write more than just aggressive punk. 4.5/5

The original title for In The Fall was The Navy Song, and for good reason. The opening riff sounds very similar to something you?d here on the seas, and the lyrics are clearly making numerous references to the navy. It?s a pretty cool song, and the chorus is probably one of the coolest parts of the whole album. With a toe-tapping beat, soft flowing guitars, you?ll feel as though you were really being carried away by the waves while listening to the song. 4/5

The title sounds like a classic pop punk song. Despite this, Perfect World is one of my favorite songs on the album. It brings back the speed of DIAMM, but takes away all of the darkness, and instead makes the song into a balancing act of soft verses and an aggressive chorus. Ian and Ben?s vocals perfectly overlap with the cry of ?In a perfect world!? 4.5/5

If I had to pick the one song closest to filler material on the album, it?d probably have to be Sympathy. Not only is it not unique, it?s actually boring at parts. It almost seems to whiz by, and you don?t really get a great impression of it. This song is definitely not worthy of Billy Talent. 2/5

Finally, we come to the closing track Burn The Evidence. If you remember the last album, the closing track didn?t really function as a closer, and didn?t really leave you with a sense of the whole album. Once again, Billy Talent has improved immensely in this front. While it?s a pretty average song, the catchy chorus and bridge, and the fade-out end to the album really make this track something special. When compared to Voices of Violence, this song is a tenfold improvement as regarding closing. Great track overall. 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.7 out of 5

Pros: - Ian?s singing ? nuff said.
- Ben has an extremely unique voice, which he utilizes to the fullest.
- Nice varation of stylization throughout.

Cons: - Sounds almost too similar to the s/t.
- Vocal work may irk off some listeners.

Overall, this is Billy Talent?s strongest release to date, and sums up Billy Talent?s style very well. They manage to have variation without losing their unique style. This album contains some of their strongest work to date. Definitely worth picking up, just to support a great Canadian band.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Justanothernimrod
June 26th 2006


478 Comments


the worker bees song sounds unbareably cheesy...

I'll have to hear this, I liked about 3/4's of their first album.

jimay333
June 26th 2006


433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked this album but I have to disagree with you on the improvement part. Billy Talent was a classic but II doesn't live up to it's predecessor in my opinion.

Acre
June 26th 2006


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Justanothernimrod: It's not. Sorry if my description made it sound that way. It's an awesome song.



jimay333: Can you list your reasons for not thinking it's an improvement? I'd have to say it is better, just because the songs in this album stand out more, and on the s/t, a lot of the songs sound way too similar.

metallicaman8
June 26th 2006


4677 Comments


This was just reviewed you should've waited longer to put this out.

SCREAM!
June 26th 2006


14766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're already at 1200 comments? Seems like you were around 600 just a few days ago.

Two-Headed Boy
June 26th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree. This is a pretty good review, but maybe would be more popular if it was released, say, a day later.



I have to buy this.

metallicaman8
June 26th 2006


4677 Comments


SCREAM!, yeah I comment alot.

Acre
June 26th 2006


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually didn't realize there was another review when I submitted it. Oh well, If I had the choice, I would have saved it, knowing that someone else had submitted one.

tom79
June 26th 2006


3587 Comments


nah it doesn't really matter too much. Its a new release, so its good to have more than one opinion when it just comes out.

I might get this. I've heard the first two songs and both were fairly good. I think I like Red Flag better though.

Digging: Van Morrison - Saint Dominic's Preview

scallahan06
June 27th 2006


124 Comments


tom79 you have the best avatar ever! i hope i dont listen to this album soooo much as i did with the last one that i get sick of it . but it sounds great so far!


yo yo maThis Message Edited On 06.27.06

Generic Joshman
June 27th 2006


40 Comments


I liked worker bees ALOT aswell
good review, always a fan of the song by song review.

scallahan06
June 28th 2006


124 Comments


i really like the guitar work on pins and needles.
the song "in the fall" is actually called "the navy song" look at the tracklisting on the back of the caseThis Message Edited On 06.28.06

Acre
June 28th 2006


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ya Pins And Needles is a pretty rad track. Sorry about the confusion with titles, I origionally streamed the album (as most of their fans probably did). The guitar work on The Navy Song is pretty awesome as well.

Two-Headed Boy
June 28th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

:lol: "rad"

scallahan06
June 30th 2006


124 Comments


i dont know why but the beginning of the navy song, the guitar kind of reminds me of dallas greens sound. and the chorus of this suffering sounds like system of a downs hypnotize.

i enjoy this album more than the last one. its funner to play with.

SCREAM!
June 30th 2006


14766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When i put the cd on my computer it says The Navy Song is called In The Fall. Does anyone know why?

AmericnZero02
August 26th 2006


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

strange, everywhere else i see the tracklisting to this album its called The Navy Song. But i guess it would make more senseif it was called In the Fall because every other Billy Talent songs title is said in the song, except The Ex.

wakeupdead
January 9th 2007


2227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

strange, everywhere else i see the tracklisting to this album its called The Navy Song


Me too, and when I talk about this song with friends and they dont know which song I'm talking about. It's very strange

jazza225
June 16th 2008


15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this wasn't as good as the first one i think. i'd say II is a little less consistent than its predecessor, but i do like your review and i agree with what u said on worker bees, easily best track on the whole album

fireaboveicebelow
June 16th 2008


6832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They changed the name of The Navy Song to In The Fall while they shipped the cd out, so some cd's have one name and the rest have the other. The Navy Song is a way cooler name though



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