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| 13 February 2016 | Reply


Label: AFM Records

Release Date: February 5, 2016

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

How does a band exist for twenty years with cool songs and arrangements and never hit my radar?  I never thought I would utter a question like that, but thanks to Emil Bulls and their 20th Anniversary re-recording of hits, I am now familiar with the band.  The tracks on this disc are their greatest hits all stripped back and played in their raw form in what the band calls Candlelight versions.  I must get some of the bands other stuff, just to hear these cranked out differently that I have experienced here.  “Here Comes The Fire” opens the disc and the arrangement is simply beautiful.  The acoustic guitars alongside the drums set a perfect tone for the song and disc.  If this track is any indication, we are in for a great hour of music.  “The Jaws Of Oblivion” is next and brings more of the same acoustic guitars to the table, but along with cool drumming and bass that drive the track.  The vocals are simple and give the song a poppier feel than the opening track.  “Worlds Apart” features a beautiful piano piece in the intro that carries itself into the mix underneath the vocals and guitars.  The chorus on this song is beautiful and draws you in with the emotion and gentler push of the vocals.  “Not Tonight Josephine” is one for the books.  The lyrical content of this song is sad while freeing, allowing the heart to speak and guide.  The arrangement drives home the emotional confusion and resentment of the lyric, thanks to the vocals.  “Dear Sadness” unfolds with vocals and piano and is a moodier piece that allows you to absorb the lyrics and digest the track as an individual glimpse into the band.  The emotion of the song ebbs and flows from verse to chorus and back again, while the tempo and groove of the track get the foot tapping.

“The Way Of The Warrior” has a different feel, groove, and tempo from the opening, and the song gets better from there when the vocals kick in and bring a sense of urgency to the track.  The emotive energy behind the guitars and vocals is powerful and contagious.  Do you like Blue October?  If you do, you will dig “The Most Evil Spell,” which is an awesome song that stirs emotion from the “What the fuck?” that opens the track lyrically to the acoustic arrangement of guitars and bass, as well as the moodier feel to the percussion on this song.  “Nothing In This World” has a different feel to it that sets this song and arrangement apart from other songs on the collection.  The droning acoustic guitar in the background keeps the song moving while the piano and vocals steer the direction of the track.  “When God Was Sleeping” is a solid song from open to close that benefits from steady handed drumming and fills as well as a piano interlude that adds depth to the song while the vocals buzz lightly over the top of the mix.  “Dancing On The Moon” opens with piano and soon the guitars and vocals join in and the trio is building a great sound that grows without getting heavy, overbearing, or loud.  This is a song that makes you listen to the disc over and over again, just to get to this track.

“Hearteater” slows the tempo a bit and delivers a melancholic feel, thanks to the subdued vocals and the way the guitars and bass swirl in the mix at the chorus.  The chorus is well constructed and creates a wall of sound thanks to the layered vocals.  “Close to The Wind” has a pop rock feel to it that gains momentum when the acoustic guitars kick in full swing as the verse starts up.  The song has contrasting sounds from the vocals when transitioning from verse to chorus and back, but it works within the framework of the track.  “Gone Baby Gone” has live anthem written all over it.  From the first strands of the song, I can see a venue with tons of hands swaying from side to side with lighters in the air illuminating the song and stage.  The mood of this song is uplifting without coming off as cheesy or poppy.  “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” opens with a blend of vocals and guitars with light drum fills in the background and soon builds into a fuller track when the bass joins the fray and the drums kick in.  Disc closer “All For You” speeds things up and shows us a different side of the band as an acoustic unit without derailing the rest of the collection.  The mood of this track, while moody and earthy, is buoyed by the cool guitar work and percussive additions to the background.

​Tracklisting – Here Comes The Fire – The Jaws Of Oblivion – The Way Of The Warrior – Hearteater – The Most Evil Spell – Close to The Wind – Worlds Apart – Nothing In This World  – Gone Baby Gone – Not Tonight Josephine – When God Was Sleeping – Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea – Dear Sadness – Dancing On The Moon – All For You






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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