Black Emerald – Hell can’t handle all of us
I’ll start with a disclaimer that I’m not really sold on the whole Rock and Roll genre these days. Of course the greats will always be instantly relatable, but I feel that a genre whose best times are 30 years past will always to struggle in the ever changing landscape of music. I’m not deliberately trying to disparage the efforts of bands that tread a path well worn, because I’m a firm believer that genres never die as long as there are people who love them. Though like thrash, there comes a point where every trick has been done to death, and bands have to really think outside of the box to make an impact.
It’s a good thing then that the UK scene is so accepting to the revival of genres. It’s a place where bands like Black Emerald and their new album “Hell Can’t handle all of us” can exist. I’ve seen some great examples of the sleazy rock/metal where this Reading based trio will fit nicely, and the fact that they are brave enough to infuse a good mix of genres into their sound is impressive, even if they don’t always hit the mark (in my opinion at least).
They remind me of Black Label Society in many places, and Motorhead in others. It’s not classic rock in its purest sense but they owe a lot to an era of beer swilling, strip club dwelling rock stars. There’s a lot to like, plenty of great riffs that have a nostalgic aura without feeling trite and over done. With winding solo’s complementing the groove, they mix rock and metal well enough, being larger than life and in your face where they need to be whilst driving everything along in good fashion. But I can’t help feel that there’s something missing. The vocals are adept and with good range in parts across the album, but run into repetitive territory when it comes to their melodies. For a band that calls themselves “Accidental Prog”, it’s a shame that the vocals sound anything but. There’s a lot of potential to move away from obvious rhymes though, because there’s no doubt of the lead vocalist’s technical abilities. But whether that would take away from their obvious love for the sleaze is the question. Because they have planted their flag firmly in that territory, and all the additions grow around it.
It’s all very competent music, there are great riffs and some brilliant moments in the album “Figure on a Barbed wire Cross” is a great song, and it’s not the only one. The production is solid and I’d be very interested to see how these songs translate live. But the fan in me is just having trouble with something but I can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s not much I could say is particularly new, but that shouldn’t be a problem, they do what they do well. There’s something here that I’m missing.
Despite that, Black Emerald have all the elements that I think a lot of fans of Heavy rock would be into, fans of Lemmy, AC/DC and the legends of those era’s will be at home with Hell can’t handle all of us.
I suppose it’s a musical case of “It’s not you, it’s me”