Review Summary: Billy Talent III shows a band full of ambitious change, but end up almost entirely losing a sound that made them exciting.
As the years roll on, they can change people, bands – the music they create. Billy Talent are a Punk band from Mississauga, Canada. Their first two albums created a sound that was a cut from the rest: blending hard-hitting, heavy, groove riffs that brought a sharp Punk edge to their sound. The band drew a wide range of fans that like Metal, Rock and Punk and their eclectic sound has always had an accessible feel to it; catchy hooks are littered in every Billy Talent song, similar to what Nirvana always managed to create, but the band had a defined sound and never overstepped the mark into “pop” friendly territory.
Billy Talent III
is the bands first step over that line, almost completely losing its Punk grit and replacing it with smooth Rock melodies and generic solos. The albums opener “Devil on my Shoulders” shows a much slower tempo from the band than what we’re normally accustomed to, with a larger focus on sing-along anthems, than adrenaline injected party songs. “Rusted from the Rain” shows an even slower side to the band and attempts to incorporate an epic texture to the bands sonic pallet, which is mildly enjoyable, but a far cry from previous material.
The biggest problems lie in the music itself though. It’s not that the actual songs are bad; its hindrances fall on just how bland and forgettable the riffs are. Ben’s vocal attempts at creating an even more accessible Billy Talent are crushed under the weight of lacklustre riffs. Always appreciated Ian’s quick, fluid and energetic style on songs like “Devil in the Midnight Mass” and “Cut the Curtains”? You won’t find any of that on here. The same applies to the rhythm section, which has previously been a joy to listen to. But the band seem to have lost their sense of direction when making this album; and in trying to push the band into an optimistically new path, ended up replacing their signature energy and interesting style for a bland and boring sound.
The album suffers from dull song-writing, mostly failed attempts at an epic tone and Ben’s vocals aren’t anything to write home about; however, the album does occasionally show signs of what they were trying to do: “Saint Veronika” is musically interesting, showing some nice rhythms and a good blend of the old Billy Talent sound, with just the right amount of elements from the new direction; while “Tears into Wine”, “Pocketful of Dreams” and “White Sparrow” show a fair amount of the old sound and promise to this LP, but the solos feel tacked on and boring, while Ben’s cringe-induced, emo lyrics strip any potential enjoyment and take away more than the songs offer. While songs like “The Dead Can't Testify” and “Sudden Movements” are so mind-numbingly boring they barely justify as songs, rather excellent sleeping material.
It’s a shame to see, but Billy talent III
is a huge misfire. They manage to exclude all the major qualities that made the band so great, and replace them with things that make the band sound generic, contrived and boring. It might draw in a new wave of fans, but will most certainly alienate fans of previous works.